brain·​storm | \ ˈbrān-ˌstȯrm How to pronounce brainstorm (audio) \
brainstormed; brainstorming; brainstorms

Definition of brainstorm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

: to try to solve a problem or come up with new ideas by having a discussion that includes all members of a group : to discuss a problem or issue and suggest solutions and ideas Students from Paris, Milan, Tokyo, and New York were invited to the Cambridge campus to brainstorm with MIT students on the marriage of couture and computer.— Elizabeth Thrasher Engineers are only beginning to brainstorm possible reasons that Polar Lander might have kept silent.— Sharon Begley — see also brainstorming


plural brainstorms

Definition of brainstorm (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a sudden bright idea Another French immigrant to the Quaker City, Eugene Roussel, had a brainstorm that raised the curtain on a new era in the history of carbonated beverages.— David M. Schwartz
b : the act of brainstorming : a group discussion for the purpose of solving a problem or coming up with new ideas Once the brainstorms are done, however, everyone needs to get their individual pieces of the creative puzzle done as effectively and efficiently as possible.— Denise Blasevick
c : a harebrained idea The layout looks as though it is the brainstorm of the art director of a struggling new advertising agency after a three-martini lunch.— Sloan Wilson
2 British, informal : a temporary state of confusion : a period of unclear thinking … Smith's rise was interrupted by a brainstorm, a failure of logic, a loss of bearings that will now stay with him for the rest of his life.— Paul Hayward
3 dated : a violent transient fit of insanity

Other Words from brainstorm


brainstormer noun, plural brainstormers
In fact, the speakers joined the attendees as collaborative brainstormers in an exercise to find solutions to some truly global problems … — Amy Schrier

Synonyms for brainstorm

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of brainstorm in a Sentence

Noun Her latest brainstorm is to convert the garage into an apartment.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Students learned to brainstorm solutions, research existing patents and apply for grants to build prototypes of their new products. Katie Reilly, Time, 8 June 2022 Prior to the pandemic, we were used to hopping into a conference room to brainstorm on the fly or stopping by a colleague's cubicle to ask about a project. Andrew Filev, Forbes, 19 May 2022 His hesitation led him to brainstorm a new concept for the character with director Taika Waititi — a look that was less physically intimidating and more magically menacing. Sara Netzley,, 9 July 2022 The space agency held a workshop to brainstorm the uses of such technology, like to parse crop types and spot agricultural disease, and essentially took over the idea. Wired, 6 July 2022 So, take a look through these after school snack recipe ideas to brainstorm what to offer the kids after a big test, or even at the next Christmas or Valentine's Day party with all their friends. Olivia Muenter, Woman's Day, 16 June 2022 In a second part of the research, college students paired up to brainstorm new uses for products such as a Frisbee or bubble wrap. Aria Bendix, NBC News, 8 June 2022 Creators do market research and analyze insights to brainstorm content targeted to their audience. Blake Michael, Forbes, 8 June 2022 Help your teen brainstorm healthy boundaries and how to communicate them to a partner. Katie Hurley, CNN, 5 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of brainstorm


1945, in the meaning defined above


circa 1861, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for brainstorm

Time Traveler

The first known use of brainstorm was circa 1861

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Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Brainstorm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for brainstorm


brain·​storm | \ ˈbrān-ˌstȯrm How to pronounce brainstorm (audio) \

Kids Definition of brainstorm

: a sudden inspiration or idea

More from Merriam-Webster on brainstorm

Nglish: Translation of brainstorm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brainstorm for Arabic Speakers


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