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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

be quick on the uptake

To be able to grasp or understand something easily. She's pretty quick on the uptake, so I'm sure she'll figure out the directions you left her.
See also: on, quick, 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 ?
5-mg/kg-day dose groups experienced partial inhibition of thyroidal iodide uptake for 14 days; the absence of an effect on serum thyroid hormones is expected given any extent of inhibition lasting only a few weeks.
Consistency with the uptake results of Lawrence et al.
18,19) found that the thyroidal radioiodine uptake measured 2 weeks postexposure was significantly elevated relative to the baseline uptake.
Humans are able to maintain normal thyroid function when exposed to relatively high levels of the iodide uptake inhibitor thiocyanate (e.
On the other hand, an increase in the cellular uptake of [beta]-lg nanoparticles was observed when [beta]-lg nanoparticles treated at lower heating temperature had higher zeta potential value (surface charge) (Figure 5).
Qualitative study on the cellular uptake of FITC-conjugated [beta]-lg nanoparticles were carried out using a CLSM.
The size and surface charge of [beta]-lg nanoparticles were crucial factors affecting the cellular uptake of [beta]-lg nanoparticles in Caco-2 cells.
Effects of particle size and surface charge on cellular uptake and biodistribution of polymeric nanoparticles.
Sodium uptake ratio by rice plant was calculated by using the following formula:
Sodium content in flag leaf Sodium uptake ratio by plant = Total sodium content in soil
In case of field trials of 2010 and 2011, analysis of variance showed that considerable differences occurred for salt, genotypes and salt-genotype interactions for all 4 categories of rice varieties in respect of grain yield, Na+ uptake, K+ uptake, Ca++ uptake and total cations uptake.
K+ uptake showed very highly significant (P less than 0.
Therefore, 90 days of chloroform uptake via showering, bathing, ingestion of tap water, and swimming were simulated for each mother and then averaged to give an average daily uptake for all pathways.
Uptake parameters were based only on studies measuring blood chloroform concentrations because these were thought to be the most biologically relevant and informative.
1994; Camman and Hubner 1995) to estimate the uptake of chloroform during swimming.