brain

noun
\ ˈbrān How to pronounce brain (audio) \

Definition of brain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system enclosed in the skull and continuous with the spinal cord through the foramen magnum that is composed of neurons and supporting and nutritive structures (such as glia) and that integrates sensory information from inside and outside the body in controlling autonomic function (such as heartbeat and respiration), in coordinating and directing correlated motor responses, and in the process of learning — compare forebrain, hindbrain, midbrain
b : a nervous center in invertebrates comparable in position and function to the vertebrate brain
2a(1) : intellect, mind has a clever brain
(2) : intellectual endowment : intelligence often used in plural plenty of brains in that family
b(1) : a very intelligent or intellectual person
(2) : the chief planner within a group usually used in plural she's the brains behind their success
3 : something that performs the functions of a brain especially : an automatic device (such as a computer) for control or computation

brain

verb
brained; braining; brains

Definition of brain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to kill by smashing the skull
2 : to hit on the head

Illustration of brain

Illustration of brain

Noun

brain 1a: 1 cerebral hemisphere, 2 corpus callosum, 3 ventricle, 4 fornix, 5 thalamus, 6 pituitary gland, 7 pons, 8 medulla oblongata, 9 spinal cord, 10 cerebellum, 11 midbrain

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of brain in a Sentence

Noun

Scientists are learning more about how the human brain works. The left and right sides of the brain have different functions. The other children always teased him about being such a brain.

Verb

The tree limb fell and nearly brained me.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bill Gates says these brain-boosting pills will double your IQ. Mehmet Oz And Kai Falkenberg, WSJ, "Facebook’s Scandal of Fake Celebrity Ads," 14 Apr. 2019 Emilia Clarke, best known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, recently opened up about the brain aneurysms that almost took her life. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Emilia Clarke Just Shared Never-Before-Seen Photos Taken After Her Brain Surgery," 8 Apr. 2019 In her essay, Clarke outlines her emotional journey with the two brain aneurysms, which happened at such busy times in her life and career. Christopher Rosa, Allure, "Lena Headey Wrote the Kindest Message to Emilia Clarke About Her Brain Aneurysms," 23 Mar. 2019 Indiana Medical History Museum Get an up-close look at human brains, skeletons and organs in the cabinets or venture into the autopsy room at the Indiana Medical History Museum, one of Indianapolis' strangest spots. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Ultimate Indiana bucket list: 50+ things to do in Indianapolis and around the state," 11 July 2018 More evidence of Russian culpability generates more response from his targets, which, processed through the peculiar logic of Greenwald’s brain, becomes evidence of an anti-Russian witch hunt. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Glenn Greenwald Tells Russians Liberals Are Blaming Them As Excuse for Clinton," 9 July 2018 Spoiler alert: The brain loves to dream about the forbidden. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "13 Common Sex Dreams and What They Actually Mean," 1 Apr. 2019 Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder characterized by significant shifts in mood and energy levels, according to the NIMH. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "Mental Health Awareness Means Talking About All Types of Mental Illness," 29 Mar. 2019 The celebrity home stager, the brain behind the award-winning firm Interior Marketing Group (IMG), is known for her knack of decorating luxury properties to sell—and sell fast. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "A Celebrity Home Stager Reveals the Art of Decorating," 7 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And yet the story rolls on, oblivious and hare-brained. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Romanoffs’ Review: Far From Revolutionary," 11 Oct. 2018 According to the study, the ratio of neurons to brain size in most carnivores was nearly equivalent to herbivores. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Study Says Dogs Are Actually Smarter Than Cats," 18 June 2018 Took out Isadora Duncan when her scarf got caught in the spokes of a wheel, decapitated Jayne Mansfield, sprayed John Kennedy’s brains all over his wife. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Red Caddy," 24 Apr. 2018 At least 64 people perished during the storm, drowned in their houses or brained by flying debris. The Economist, "America has let down its Puerto Rican citizens," 12 Apr. 2018 Yet if there’s a British stereotype of American English as twangy and slangy, there’s a corresponding American stereotype of British English as quaint and feather-brained. Henry Hitchings, WSJ, "‘The Prodigal Tongue’ Review: More Trouble in the Colonies," 12 Apr. 2018 Today’s condom challenge will morph into tomorrow’s equally hare-brained idea. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Calm down about the condom challenge, grown-ups," 2 Apr. 2018 Many experts believe that maintaining physical fitness can help keep blood flowing normally to brain tissue, which can reduce the risk of damage or deterioration. Amanda Macmillan, Time, "How Exercise May Help Protect Your Brain From Cognitive Decline and Dementia," 16 Feb. 2018 But Scotti falls back on the same old, tired, lizard-brained and misogynistic argument that people used against Hillary Clinton: That ambitious women are off-putting. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "When Will We Stop Shaming Ambitious Women?," 5 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of brain

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brain

Noun

Middle English, from Old English brægen; akin to Middle Low German bregen brain, and perhaps to Greek brechmos front part of the head

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Statistics for brain

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brain

The first known use of brain was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for brain

brain

noun

English Language Learners Definition of brain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the organ of the body in the head that controls functions, movements, sensations, and thoughts
informal : the ability to think and reason
informal : a very intelligent person

brain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of brain (Entry 2 of 2)

informal : to hit (someone) on the head very hard

brain

noun
\ ˈbrān How to pronounce brain (audio) \

Kids Definition of brain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of the nervous system that is inside the skull, consists of grayish nerve cells and whitish nerve fibers, and is the organ of thought and the central control point for the nervous system
2 : the ability to think : intelligence
3 : someone who is very smart

brain

verb
brained; braining

Kids Definition of brain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hit on the head very hard

brain

noun
\ ˈbrān How to pronounce brain (audio) \

Medical Definition of brain

1 : the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system enclosed in the skull and continuous with the spinal cord through the foramen magnum that is composed of neurons and supporting and nutritive structures (as glia) and that integrates sensory information from inside and outside the body in controlling autonomic function (as heartbeat and respiration), in coordinating and directing correlated motor responses, and in the process of learning — see forebrain, hindbrain, midbrain
2 : a nervous center in invertebrates comparable in position and function to the vertebrate brain

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More from Merriam-Webster on brain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brain

Spanish Central: Translation of brain

Nglish: Translation of brain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about brain

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