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

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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

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 Showing real gratitude in a meaningful way may mean partners getting involved days in advance to brainstorm specific strategies and activities, instead of hoping kids will know to do this on their own. Washington Post, "Six things moms really need this Mother’s Day," 5 May 2021 At the beginning of 2021, Evans approached Rupe, director of Orlando’s Renaissance Theatre Company, and Creative City Project executive director Cole NeSmith in to brainstorm ideas on reconnecting students with the arts. Matthew J. Palm,, "OCPS videos aim to reconnect students with the arts," 29 Apr. 2021 Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who also was on a call the previous weekend to brainstorm ways to oppose voter suppression efforts, signed. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Somber statements following Derek Chauvin conviction say nothing, don't address inequity," 21 Apr. 2021 The agency members can help answer questions, go over plans, and brainstorm ways to make your home safe and secure for many years to come. Sara Lindberg,, "Aging in Place: Why You or a Loved One May Want to Grow Older at Home," 20 Apr. 2021 Dozens of business leaders, including Hoffman, recently held a Zoom call to brainstorm ways to fight controversial voting restrictions being debated around the country. Matt Egan, CNN, "LinkedIn billionaire: Cut off funding for politicians who limit voting rights," 19 Apr. 2021 Going to the office will become more of an event, providing an opportunity to touch base with team members, learn and develop, and brainstorm together. Jane Sparrow, Forbes, "Poly-Working: What Businesses Need To Know For Effective Working In 2021," 12 Apr. 2021 The breeders group also has been working closely with the Reisterstown Improvement Association to brainstorm on ideas and possible grants. Cameron Goodnight,, "Maryland Horse Foundation launches $1 million capital campaign to build Horse Library and Education Center in Baltimore County," 29 Mar. 2021 Plan fun activities around a daily theme Assign a theme to each day of the week, and brainstorm an activity, a gift and food to correspond with the theme. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fight COVID fatigue with pandemic-friendly spring break activities with your kids," 15 Mar. 2021

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


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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Statistics for brainstorm

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brainstorm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for brainstorm



English Language Learners Definition of brainstorm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try to solve a problem by talking with other people : to discuss a problem and suggest solutions



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

US : an idea that someone thinks of suddenly
British : a temporary state of confusion : a period of unclear thinking


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

Kids Definition of brainstorm

: a sudden inspiration or idea

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