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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.
See also: on, slow, uptake

slow on the uptake

Stupid or dimwitted; slow or unable to understand something. Jim's a little slow on the uptake, so you might want to check that he's following your instructions. I was always a bit slow on the uptake as a kid, so school was never my favorite place to be.
See also: on, slow, uptake

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.
See also: on, quick, 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]
See also: on, uptake

slow on the uptake

If someone is slow on the uptake, they take a long time to understand or realise things. It's not like you to be slow on the uptake, Grace. He is quite anxious sometimes, and a bit slow on the uptake. Note: You can say that someone is quick on the uptake to mean that they understand or realise things very quickly. He is quick on the uptake and knows exactly which points to pick up.
See also: on, slow, uptake

be quick (or slow) on the uptake

be quick (or slow) to understand something. informal
See also: on, quick, uptake

be ˌquick/ˌslow on the ˈuptake

(informal) understand things quickly/understand even simple things with difficulty: He’s a very good worker but he’s a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. You have to explain everything twice.
See also: on, quick, slow, uptake
References in periodicals archive ?
Effects of particle size and surface coating on cellular uptake of polymeric nanoparticles for oral delivery of anticancer drugs.
Uptake of oleoyl-chitosan nanoparticles by A549 cells.
Pearson's correlation coefficients (r) between dependent variables Particle size Zeta-potential Cellular uptake Particle size -0.
Average daily chloroform uptake ([micro]g) = {(uptake for chloroform per [micro]g/L chloroform in the water per min spent in activity) x [total time spent in activity (min) over 90 days] x [chloroform concentration in the water ([micro]g/L)} / 90 (days).
Similarly, an individual's average daily uptake of chloroform for ingestion of tap water was calculated as
Average daily chloroform uptake ([micro]g) = (uptake per [micro]g/L chloroform in the water per liter ingested) x [average daily cold tap water (L)] x 0.
Figure 2 shows the uptake via ingestion, showering and bathing, and swimming and the total uptake and total uptake excluding swimming uptake for mothers living in homes supplied with low, medium, and high chloroform concentrations.
s]) between chloroform concentrations in water and total uptake was 0.
The uptake via showering and bathing gave the strongest correlation with the total uptake ([r.
One important purpose of the present study was to establish a no-observed-effect level (NOEL) for perchlorate inhibition of the thyroidal uptake of iodide during 2-week exposure.
The additional studies include investigations of perchlorate pharmacokinetics, inhibition of thyroidal iodide uptake, and effects on serum levels of thyroid hormones and TSH in adult males, pregnant and nursing females, and, to a limited extent, fetuses and pups, at doses in the 0.
An additional and potentially important interspecies difference is evidenced by the rapid up-regulation of thyroidal iodide uptake in rats in response to multiday treatment with perchlorate, a phenomenon not observed in humans.
125]I uptake (presumably measured as the bound fraction) observed on E1 was dose related and much more pronounced at each dose than on E5, when inhibition was observed only in the 3- and 10-mg/kg-day groups.
Following the diet shift, rats exhibited a 50% increase in radioiodine uptake in 1 day (33).
Regression analysis of the E14 uptake relative to baseline for the first 14 subjects predicted that a perchlorate dose of 0.