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brain wave

Usually, brain waves. Medicine/Medical. electrical potentials or impulses given off by brain tissue.
Informal. a sudden idea or inspiration; brainstorm.
Origin of brain wave
First recorded in 1865-70 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brainwave
Historical Examples
  • "It was a sort of second-sight—what they call a brainwave," Nick smiled.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • Thought exchange by "brainwave" is wonderful, even if we still need a little speech as auxiliary.

    The Brain Alexander Blade
British Dictionary definitions for brainwave


(informal) a sudden inspiration or idea Also called brainstorm

brain wave

any of the fluctuations of electrical potential in the brain as represented on an electroencephalogram. They vary in frequency from 1 to 30 hertz See also alpha rhythm, beta rhythm, delta rhythm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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brainwave in Medicine

brain wave n.
A rhythmic fluctuation of electric potential between parts of the brain, as seen on an electroencephalogram.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for brainwave

brain wave

noun phrase

A sudden useful idea; brainstorm: Lou had a brain wave. He offered the boy a C note to let him drive (1890s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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