brain drain


Definition of brain drain 

: the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another usually for better pay or living conditions

Examples of brain drain in a Sentence

Nothing has been done to stop the brain drain as more and more doctors move away from the area.

Recent Examples on the Web

Over half a million Greeks left during the crisis in a brain drain that has hampered a recovery. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "As Greece Ends a Decade of Bailouts, Problems Linger for Europe," 19 June 2018 This brain drain hurts the entire Muslim community. Daisy Khan, WSJ, "The #MosqueMeToo Movement," 28 June 2018 Also, combat the summer brain drain by taking advantage of a reading program or a tech camp. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Summer fun! Keep the kids occupied with free and cheap activities," 25 June 2018 Voters remain concerned about immigration and the high cost of E.U. membership, despite early evidence of brain drain and a looming recruitment crisis. NBC News, "Brexit chaos: What happens next for British PM Theresa May?," 10 July 2018 The University of Wisconsin system already retains 85 percent of its graduates, so unlike many states with a brain drain, Wisconsin needs to find a way to import workers. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How subway ads asking millennials to move helps economic development," 18 June 2018 There’s a huge brain drain of the creative class out of Russia. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Former Trump Campaign Aide: My Russia Ties Are Not Nefarious!," 25 May 2018 The conclusion: lack of education, with only a third of adults in the city earning any kind of college degree, and a shortage of high-skilled job opportunities meant a perpetual brain drain. Marcella Bombardieri, The Atlantic, "One College's Struggle to Get Poor Students Through School," 30 May 2018 At the peak of the brain drain in 1979, only 8% of Taiwanese who studied abroad returned to the island after completing their courses, wrote Kevin O’Neill in a paper published by the Migration Policy Institute. The Economist, "The next sunriseIdeas from abroad take time to percolate," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brain drain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of brain drain

1960, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brain drain

Share brain drain

Statistics for brain drain

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brain drain

The first known use of brain drain was in 1960

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brain drain

brain drain


English Language Learners Definition of brain drain

: a situation in which many educated or professional people leave a particular place or profession and move to another one that gives them better pay or living conditions

More from Merriam-Webster on brain drain

See words that rhyme with brain drain

Comments on brain drain

What made you want to look up brain drain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!