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.

1810–20; up- + take; compare take-up

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World English Dictionary
uptake (ˈʌpˌteɪk)
1.  a pipe, shaft, etc, that is used to convey smoke or gases, esp one that connects a furnace to a chimney
2.  mining another term for upcast
3.  taking up or lifting up
4.  the act of accepting or taking up something on offer or available
5.  informal quick on the uptake quick to understand or learn
6.  informal slow on the uptake slow to understand or learn

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"capacity for understanding," 1816, from up + take. Cf. obs. verb uptake "to pick or take up," attested from c.1300.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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