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

Check out these 70 ideas to get your brainstorm started. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "70 Girl Dog Names That Are as Cute and Unique as Your Pup," 2 Jan. 2019 The officer helped them brainstorm about what to do next — call PECO, try the Fire Department. Anna Orso,, "What happened after this man's wedding ring fell in a Philly sidewalk grate," 4 June 2018 Writers and directors are based in Europe and the US and brainstorm video ideas via Skype, and then execute them within their own team. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "YouTube is full of cringey, clickbait DIY channels. They’re even weirder than you think.," 12 Nov. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Last April, Elise Hebb and Anarghya Vardhana, the two female partners at the venture-capital firm Maveron, began brainstorming ways to ensure the firm’s culture wasn’t excluding anyone. Jo Piazza, WSJ, "The Quiet Efforts to Battle Silicon Valley’s Bro Culture," 11 Nov. 2018 Responsibilities include researching upcoming stories, brainstorming ideas for the columns across several sections of the magazine, fact-checking, transcribing, and reviewing article submissions. Good Housekeeping, "Internships at," 28 June 2010 And Matthew Whitaker, who has publicly brainstormed about how President Donald Trump could rein in Mueller, has been named acting attorney general — putting him in charge of the Russia probe. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "What does Jeff Sessions’s ouster mean for Robert Mueller? Here are 3 scenarios.," 7 Nov. 2018 But two and a half years ago, when Silva started brainstorming the formula, that wasn't the case. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Beautyblender Is Launching Foundation, and We Tried It," 19 July 2018 Allison Mack has taken credit for brainstorming the Nxivm cult's controversial branding practice in a story published just a little over a month after the former Smallville actress was released from federal custody on a $5 million bond. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Smallville's' Allison Mack Takes Credit for Nxivm Branding Ritual," 31 May 2018 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

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

23 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for brainstorm

The first known use of brainstorm was circa 1861

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More Definitions for brainstorm



English Language Learners Definition of brainstorm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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

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


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

Kids Definition of brainstorm

: a sudden inspiration or idea

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