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A state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association. It is usually preceded by "in a." Meredith sat at her desk in a brown study, carefully planning how to word her thesis proposal.
A person who can learn new material quickly. Primarily heard in US. Your daughter is making great progress in her piano lessons—she's really a quick study.
in a brown study
In deep contemplative thought. The would-be poet can often be found in the local café, sequestered in the same corner armchair in a brown study.
To study (something) very intensely, especially within a short period of time. My wife specializes in corporate law, so she powerstudies every End User License Agreement we ever have to sign to make sure there's nothing fishy about it. I've got three finals on Monday, so I'm going to be powerstudying all weekend long.
A person who finds it difficult or takes a long time to learn something new. It's not that she's unintelligent, she is just a slow study when it comes to mathematics. Your son is a little bit of a slow study, but if he continues to practice and come to lessons, I have no doubt we can make a pianist of him yet.
Someone who studies very hard or very often. An ironic play on the phrase "party animal," meaning someone who attends parties engages in recreational activities very frequently. I goofed off for the first two years of college, but I turned into a real study animal once I realized I was close to flunking out. You'd have a lot more fun if you weren't such a study animal all the time!
study for (something)
To learn or memorize information in order to prepare for some upcoming quiz, test, examination, etc. I didn't study for my driving test because I figured it would all be intuitive. Needless to say, I don't have my driver's license yet. A: "Do you want to come to the party with us tonight?" B: "Sorry, I'm busy studying for my physics exam."
See also: study
study up on (someone or something)
To learn a lot of information about someone or something, especially in a short span of time. I want to study up on Tokyo before we travel there this summer. I always make sure to study up on any potential candidates before inviting them to an interview.
a person who is quick to learn things. (Compare this to slow study.) Jane, who is a quick study, caught the joke immediately and laughed before everyone else.
a person who is slow to learn things. (Compare this to a slow study.) Fred, who is a slow study, never caught on to the joke.
study for something
to try to learn in preparation for an examination. I have to study for my calculus exam. Have you studied for your exam yet?
See also: study
study up on someone or something
to learn all one can about someone or something. I have to study up on Abraham Lincoln in preparation for my speech. John studied up on seashells.
brown study, in a
Daydreaming or deeply contemplative, as in Margaret sits in the library, in a brown study. This term dates from the late 1500s, and although by then in a study had long meant "lost in thought," the reason for adding brown is unclear. Moreover, the present idiom also is ambiguous, some holding that it denotes genuine thoughtfulness and others that it signifies absentmindedness.
See also: brown
in a brown studyin a reverie; absorbed in your thoughts.
The earliest meaning of brown in English was simply ‘dark’. From this, an extended sense of ‘gloomy or serious’ developed and it is apparently from this sense that we get the phrase in a brown study .
2001 New York Review of Books When he isn't stirring up mischief, or conniving for gold, or composing beautiful poetry, he's apt to be sunk in a brown study.
n. to study hard. I’ve got to powerstudy for the exam. I haven’t cracked a book all semester.
n. someone who studies hard. (A play on party animal.) At the end of the school year every party animal turns into a study animal.