quick study

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quick study ‎(plural quick studies)

  1. (obsolete) an actor who is able to learn their lines in a short amount of time
    • 1839, Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby, chapter 23
      'I mustn't be cracking jokes though, for I've got a part of twelve lengths here, which I must be up in tomorrow night, and I haven't had time to look at it yet; I'm a confounded quick study, that's one comfort.'
    • 1880, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Belgravia (vol. XL), p80
      ... She is a quick study --' 'A what?' 'Learns her part rapidly, I mean. ...
    • 1888, Frances Aymar Mathews, His Way and Her Will, p81
      "Ah!" sighs the little widow, "I absolutely don't know how I am! With all this professional jargon, and nothing but 'quick study' and 'lines,' in one ear; and 'left upper' and 'right lower,' in the other, I am almost distracted!"
  2. one who is capable of learning at a fast pace; a fast learner
    • 1981, Douglas Kinnard, Secretary of Defense, p78
      Gilpatric assumed that his own prior experience would give him an early advantage over McNamara, but this proved erroneous, as McNamara was a quick study and soon got a fix on the management and organization of the Defense Department.