from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sudden clever plan or idea.
  • n. A sudden, violent disturbance of the mind.
  • intransitive v. To engage in or organize brainstorming.
  • transitive v. To consider or investigate (an issue, for example) by brainstorming.
  • transitive v. To think of or produce (a solution to a problem, for example) by brainstorming.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sudden thought, particularly one that solves a long-standing problem.
  • n. brainstorming
  • n. An unexpected mental error.
  • v. To investigate something, or solve a problem using brainstorming.
  • v. To participate in a brainstorming session.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the clear (and often sudden) understanding of a complex situation; a sudden brilliant insight.
  • v. to try to solve a problem by discussing it exhaustively in an intense group meeting encouraging uninhibited and spontaneous contributions from all members.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. try to solve a problem by thinking intensely about it
  • n. the clear (and often sudden) understanding of a complex situation


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • You must brainstorm from the beginning of a project – before you even write a word of it – through the outlining, the writing, and the final edit and polish.

    NaNoWriMo Workshop – Find, and Flush Out, an Idea « Write Anything

  • The brainstorm is this: one could very easily use Meetup to arrange a local “Old School CD Share.”

    No Title

  • If I weren't set up for that and were looking for outside hosting, I'd probably go for something like Meilin Miranda's latest brainstorm, which is a co-hosting site for authors doing crowdsourced fiction: DigitalNovelists. com.

    ceciliatan: Web serial novel: how the experiment is going

  • What you come up with in a brainstorm is a seed of an idea that needs to be cultivated to grow.

    Noah Brier on brainstorming

  • I wanted to brainstorm with you, however, the closest you'll ever come to a brainstorm is a light drizzle.


  • What we need in order to brainstorm is to jolt the system, force the brain to think in patterns and perceptions that it has no experience or former guidelines to use.

    Innovate on Purpose

  • Just give me a call whenever you want to have a "brainstorm" session about space commercialization.

    NAS Seeks Public Input on Space Goals - NASA Watch

  • His comments came a day after he participated in a meeting at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington to "brainstorm" solutions to the oil spill.

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  • He was certainly in the grip of some kind of brainstorm on that last night in the engine-house.


  • It took 7 minutes to write w/out "brainstorm" concepting beforehand. so it was just a freewrite.

    Cafe Writing: Anticipate


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  • "In the following over, Australia were 119-4 as Michael Clarke suffered a brainstorm facing Harbhajan, electing to play no shot to a standard off-break to go leg before wicket."

    - 'Symonds leads Australia recovery', BBC website, 2 Jan 2008.

    If you can decipher the cricket jargon, this is a usage of brainstorm in its (contronymic) second and rarer sense, ie. to have a violent, sudden disturbance of the mind.

    January 2, 2008