Quick or Slow On the Uptake

To be quick on the uptake is an idiomatic expression used in English since at least the late 1800’s.


To be quick on the uptake means to easily understand things, to grasp things easily and quickly. To be smart. The opposite is also used, “to be slow on the uptake” although this is also commonly expressed as “not quick on the uptake.”

Examples Of Use

“Sheila never needed to study. She was so quick on the uptake.”

“I don’t think the new guy at work is going to last long, he seems a little slow on the uptake.”


Uptake as a synonym for apprehension started as a Scottish word and expressions similar to “quick on the uptake” existed in Scotland as early as the mid-1800’s.

More Idioms Starting with P

More Slow Idioms

More Quick Idioms


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