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Related to uptake: slow on the uptake
be (a little) slow on the uptake
To struggle to understand something. This phrase is often used as a euphemism for stupidity. Joe's a nice kid, but tutoring him is a challenge because he's a little slow on the uptake, you know? That group is slow on the uptake, so I don't know if they'll ever understand how to use this fancy new printer.
quick on the uptake
quick to understand or learn something. Just because I'm not quick on the uptake, it doesn't mean I'm stupid. Mary understands jokes before anyone else because she's so quick on the uptake.
slow on the uptake
not able to understand something quickly I tried to explain how the new software works to my manager, but he's a little slow on the uptake.
Usage notes: also used in the form quick on the uptake (able to understand something quickly): He was quick on the uptake and able to realize right away what was wrong.
be slow on the uptake
to be slow to understand new ideas I tried to explain the new database, but they were remarkably slow on the uptake.
on the uptake
In understanding or comprehension. This term is most often put as quick on the uptake, for readily understanding something, and slow on the uptake, for being slow to comprehend. For example, Shirley will have no trouble learning that new computer program-she's very quick on the uptake . It alludes to absorbing ("taking up") information. [Early 1800s]