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From the use of think tank or think box in the 19th century to refer to the human brain.
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- (idiomatic) A group of people who collectively perform research and develop reports and recommendations on topics relating to strategic planning or public policy, and which is usually funded by corporate, government, or special interests.
- Synonym: think factory
- 1974, The Think Tank (Are You Being Served?), season 2, episode 3, spoken by "Captain" Stephen Peacock (Frank Thornton):
- Why don't we take a leaf out of the government's book and have a think tank?
- 1978, Peter Watson, War on the Mind, New York: Basic Books, →ISBN, page 21:
- As 1965 drew to a close a secret research project for the United States Department of Defense was concluded by a ‘think-tank’ of seven psychologists at the American Institute for Research, in the Maryland woods outside Washington, DC.
- (obsolete) The brain.
- 1937, Madge Macbeth, Wings in the West, London: J. Hamilton, page 261:
- Slade's eyes, china blue and menacing, held hers for an instant, then he turned again to her father and completed his sentence, “or else I think I know a stunt that will speed up your work . . . something that will make your think-tank bubble a bit faster. […] ”
group producing research and recommendations