brain wave

noun
plural brain waves

Definition of brain wave

1a : rhythmic fluctuations of voltage between parts of the brain resulting in the flow of an electric current
b : a current produced by brain waves
2 : a flash of inspiration : brainstorm sense 1a We invited the Hill Holliday ad agency in Boston to collaborate on our cover shoot, and its creative director, Lance Jensen, had a brain wave: wouldn't it be eye-catching for our pages to reflect not just the editorial look of the '60s but also the advertising idiom of the time?— Tina Brown

Examples of brain wave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Biologists studying microglia don’t tend to read papers about brain waves, and brain wave researchers are generally unaware of glial research. Quanta Magazine, "Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment," 27 May 2020 The different stimuli would rock the neurons into producing appropriate brain wave frequencies, causing nearby microglia to release specific types of cytokines, which tell microglia in general how to go to work repairing the brain. Quanta Magazine, "Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment," 27 May 2020 Scientists have even detected a quieting of brain waves from people in the act of TV viewing. Bill Carter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "We can't stop watching TV during the pandemic — and that's ok," 10 Apr. 2020 More important, the various stages of sleep, critical for storing long-term memories, can be identified by brain waves oscillating at different frequencies. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "The Brain Learns in Unexpected Ways," 12 Mar. 2020 The concept of communicating through brain waves and mind reading has been a science-fiction favorite for years. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "What Will the Internet Be Like in the Next 50 Years?," 1 Nov. 2019 The band measures electronic brain waves and translates them to a measure of alertness or fatigue. New York Times, "Wearable Tech That Tells Drowsy Truckers It’s Time to Pull Over," 11 Feb. 2020 During the 2016 Presidential primary, SPARK Neuro, a company that uses brain waves and other physiological signals to delve into the subliminal mind, decided to assess people’s reactions to the Democratic candidates. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "The Neuroscience of Picking a Presidential Candidate," 3 Feb. 2020 In 1989, Buzsáki published a seminal paper proposing that the purpose of SWR brain waves in the hippocampus is to help organize and consolidate memories. Quanta Magazine, "Mental Leaps Cued by Memory’s Ripples," 22 Oct. 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brain wave.' 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 wave

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brain wave

Time Traveler for brain wave

Time Traveler

The first known use of brain wave was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Statistics for brain wave

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brain wave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brain%20wave. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brain wave

brain wave

noun

English Language Learners Definition of brain wave

: a pattern or cycle of electrical activity in the brain

brain wave

noun

Medical Definition of brain wave

1 : rhythmic fluctuations of voltage between parts of the brain resulting in the flow of an electric current
2 : a current produced by brain waves — compare alpha wave, beta wave

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on brain wave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brain wave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brain wave

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about brain wave

Comments on brain wave

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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