From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: brain-storm and brain storm


Alternative forms[edit]


brain +‎ storm. In the sense of "problem-solve", devised as a method of group creative problem-solving by advertising executive Alex F. Osborn[1] and his employees, who coined the term based on the image of using "the brain to storm a problem".[2] In the sense of "seizure, convulsion, brain activity", from the unrelated idea that it is like a storm in the brain.


  • IPA(key): /ˈbɹeɪnstɔː(ɹ)m/
    • (file)


brainstorm (third-person singular simple present brainstorms, present participle brainstorming, simple past and past participle brainstormed)

  1. To investigate something, or solve a problem using brainstorming.
    • 2017 August 27, Brandon Nowalk, “Game Of Thrones slows down for the longest, and best, episode of the season (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      Meanwihle at Winterfell, another overdone scheme designed mainly to surprise the audience. In the black of her chambers, Sansa brainstorms with Littlefinger what Arya could want. “After she murders you, what does she become?” he asks. To which Sansa does everything but gasp and spit-take, widening her eyes and saying like she’s just realizing it for the first time, “Lady of Winterfell.”
    • 2022 September 27, Barclay Bram, “My Therapist, the Robot”, in The New York Times[2]:
      On another occasion, when trying to brainstorm things I could do to make myself feel better despite all the pandemic restrictions, Woebot suggested I “try doing something nice for someone in your life,” like make a calming tea for my housemate or check in with a loved one.
  2. To participate in a brainstorming session.

See also[edit]


brainstorm (plural brainstorms)

  1. (US) A sudden thought, particularly one that solves a long-standing problem.
    Synonym: brainwave
    I had been working on the problem for weeks, and then I had a brainstorm and saw that the solution was easy.
  2. A session of brainstorming, investigating a problem to try to find solutions.
  3. (Britain) An unexpected mental error.
    • 2005 October 5, "Iguchi hit ruins Red Sox's night", BBC Online, 5 October
      A terrible fielding error from Tony Graffanino proved costly. [...] Aaron Rowand collected an RBI double to get them off the mark before Graffanino's brainstorm. Juan Uribe hit a roller to the second baseman, who let the potential inning-ending double-play ball roll under his glove, leaving runners at first and third bases.
  4. Alternative form of brain storm (activity in the brain, such as a seizure or convulsion)
    electrical brainstorm

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Developing Creative Leadership, Portsmouth, NH: Teacher Ideas Press, 2004, →ISBN, pages 20
  2. ^ Managing Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Oxon: Routledge, 2016, →ISBN, pages 63