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think tank

a research institute or organization employed to solve complex problems or predict or plan future developments, as in military, political, or social areas.
Also called think factory.
Origin of think tank
1900-05 for earlier sense “brain”; 1955-60 for current sense Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Word Origin and History for think tank

also think-tank, 1959 as "research institute" (first reference is to Center for Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, Calif.); it had been colloquial for "the brain" since 1905. See think + tank (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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think tank in Culture

think tank definition

An institution in which scholars pursue research in public policy. Largely funded by endowments and grants, think tanks work to improve public awareness of policy issues (through publications) and to influence the government to act upon issues of national importance. (See power elite.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for think tank

think tank

noun phrase

An institute or institution that specializes in the custody of interpretive intellectuals, esp in the social sciences, and usually caters to and is financed by a government in return for studies, prognostications, etc: A peace academy would be part graduate school, part think tank

[1959+; think-tank, ''the brain,'' is found by 1905]

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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Idioms and Phrases with think tank

think tank

A group or organization dedicated to problem-solving and research, especially in such areas as technology, social or political strategy, and the military. For example, The congressional leaders rely too heavily on that conservative think tank. This term originated about 1900 as a facetious colloquialism for brain and was given its new meaning about 1950.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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