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[uhp-teyk] /ˈʌpˌteɪk/
apprehension; understanding or comprehension; mental grasp:
quick on the uptake.
an act or instance of taking up; a lifting:
the uptake of fertilizer by machines.
Also called take-up. Machinery. a pipe or passage leading upward from below, as for conducting smoke or a current of air.
Physiology. absorption.
Origin of uptake
1810-20; up- + take; compare take-up Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for uptake
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Say 'at it is," cried Jess, who was quicker in the uptake than her daughter.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie
  • "I only said that the once," said Wully, shocked at her glibness in the uptake.

    Bud Neil Munro
  • You are slower of the uptake, Anne, than is common with you.

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
  • "Men are apt to be slow in the uptake," she added indulgently.

    A Safety Match

    Ian Hay
  • Now at that time I own that I was not bright in the uptake about such things.

    The Men of the Moss-Hags S. R. Crockett
  • And in that look old Fanny, slow in the uptake though she undoubtedly was, read a tremendous piece of news.

    December Love Robert Hichens
  • "I war jest a-studyin' erbout thet myself," affirmed Maggard whose quickness of uptake was more eager than truthful.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • Quick though the French are at the uptake, it took the good Commandant just a little while to settle down to the odd position.

British Dictionary definitions for uptake


a pipe, shaft, etc, that is used to convey smoke or gases, esp one that connects a furnace to a chimney
(mining) another term for upcast (sense 2)
taking up or lifting up
the act of accepting or taking up something on offer or available
(informal) quick on the uptake, quick to understand or learn
(informal) slow on the uptake, slow to understand or learn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for uptake

"capacity for understanding," 1816, from up + take. Cf. obsolete verb uptake "to pick or take up," attested from c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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uptake in Medicine

uptake up·take (ŭp'tāk')
The absorption by a tissue of a substance, such as a nutrient, and its permanent or temporary retention.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for uptake


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with uptake


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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