From Middle English uptaken (to take up, lift), partial calque of earlier Middle English upnimen (to take up, lift), equivalent to up- +‎ take. Compare Swedish upptaga, uppta (to take up).


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uptake (countable and uncountable, plural uptakes)

  1. Understanding; comprehension.
  2. Absorption, especially of food or nutrient by an organism.
  3. The act of lifting or taking up.
  4. (dated) A chimney.
  5. (dated) The upcast pipe from the smokebox of a steam boiler towards the chimney.

Derived termsEdit



uptake (third-person singular simple present uptakes, present participle uptaking, simple past uptook, past participle uptaken)

  1. (archaic) To take up, to lift.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.ii:
      He hearkned to his reason, and the childe / Vptaking, to the Palmer gaue to beare [...].
  2. To absorb, as food or a drug by an organism.
  3. To accept and begin to use, as a new practice.