brain·​storm | \ˈbrān-ˌstȯrm \
plural brainstorms

Definition of brainstorm 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 dated : a violent transient fit of insanity

2a : a sudden bright idea

b : a harebrained idea


brainstormed; brainstorming

Definition of brainstorm (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

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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
brainstorming noun
… he's already done some brainstorming about new marketing strategies. — George Lazarus conducted several brainstorming sessions

Synonyms for brainstorm

Synonyms: Verb

communicate, intercommunicate

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Examples of brainstorm in a Sentence


I'm sorry—I must have been having a brainstorm when I wrote that.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The project was green lit by Hadid—and by early 2016 the Perrins set off to London to meet with her team to brainstorm. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Exclusive: Perrin Paris Debuts Collaboration with the Late Zaha Hadid," 14 June 2017 Together, they brainstorm ways to break the fourth wall (the conceptual space that separates a performer from the audience), with funny references while they film. Rose Minutaglio, Country Living, "'Last Man Standing' Star Molly McCook Speaks Out About the Mandy Baxter Recast Backlash," 20 Oct. 2018 As a market- ing intern, then a marketing manager, Geidt did everything from answer customer-support calls to brainstorm with cofounder Travis Kalanick about the company's expansion strategy. Carmel Deamicis, Marie Claire, "Meet Uber's Secret Weapon, Austin Geidt," 20 Jan. 2017 At the same time, the founder of the Soviet space program, Sergei Korolev, directed a small group of his associates to brainstorm possible tasks for the original Soyuz design before scrapping it entirely. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "The Model T of Space: Russian Soyuz Spacecraft Turns 50," 28 Nov. 2016 Born of a Bible-study group brainstorm, Food Runners is one of a growing number of outfits that pick up uneaten items from restaurants, caterers, and other spots where food is served. Alfred Lubrano,, "Food rescuers race to battle waste, hunger," 4 June 2018 The corridors were lined whiteboard walls meant to encourage spur-of-the-moment brainstorms. Jennifer Larino,, "DXC Technology's New Orleans office is now open," 23 May 2018 And technology companies are looking to recruit workers from a range of backgrounds to brainstorm and build products for a global marketplace. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook's diversity efforts failing African-American and Hispanic women," 12 July 2018 The result of the collaborative brainstorm was a red kevlar pouch of sorts, designed to carry the boys. Wendy Dent, WIRED, "The Engineering Behind Elon Musk's Bid to Save Thailand's Cave Boys," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Earlier this month, participants in Seattle’s Startup Weekend EDU brainstormed solutions to problems in our education system for an entire weekend. Mohammed Kloub, The Seattle Times, "Should personal-finance management be taught in school? Readers sound off.," 22 Oct. 2018 The event, which certainly would have helped my younger self, came about while brainstorming ideas to reach out to veterans. Guest Columnist/,, "Women veterans deserve our support: Alaina Foster (Opinion)," 11 Mar. 2018 At a dinner with Khoury’s grandparents, the family brainstormed a team name. Bryce Miller,, "Cover your ears: Over-the-Line evolves, but the raunchy team names remain," 14 July 2018 Commissioner Rob Manfred, in an awkward dance with the Players Association, has been brainstorming how to change this trend for years. Tom Verducci,, "There Are Too Many Strikeouts in Baseball: Here's How to Fix the Problem," 14 June 2018 Musk also brainstormed on Twitter about possible technology for a safe evacuation, suggesting that an air tunnel constructed with soft tubing like a Bouncy Castle could provide flexible passage out. Author: Tassanee Vejpongsa, Kaweewit Kaewjimda, Anchorage Daily News, "Thai diver dies in effort to rescue boys soccer team from cave," 6 July 2018 Twice a year, Ultimate sponsors a coding event that empowers developers to brainstorm ideas unrelated to their current projects. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Ultimate Software ranks No. 1 mid-sized company for 'best place to work in IT'," 18 June 2018 Some tourist companies brainstormed ideas about the North — all aware that even giant Hyundai was once burned by the North’s government. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "The Choco Pie dividend: South Korean firms are drooling at the prospect of business in the North," 17 June 2018 Students who appeared timid as they brainstormed, rushed to the 6-feet-by-12-feet wooden fence panel, grabbed spray cans and filled the blank space with color. Erika Pesantes,, "Manuel Oliver, father of slain Stoneman Douglas student, uses art to help his son's peers heal," 21 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of brainstorm


circa 1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1945, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for brainstorm

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brainstorm

The first known use of brainstorm was circa 1861

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More Definitions for brainstorm


brain·​storm | \ˈbrān-ˌstȯrm \

Kids Definition of brainstorm

: a sudden inspiration or idea

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Comments on brainstorm

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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