- Anatomy, Zoology. the part of the central nervous system enclosed in the cranium of humans and other vertebrates, consisting of a soft, convoluted mass of gray and white matter and serving to control and coordinate the mental and physical actions.
- Zoology. (in many invertebrates) a part of the nervous system more or less corresponding to the brain of vertebrates.
- Sometimes brains. (used with a plural verb) understanding; intellectual power; intelligence.
- the brain as the center of thought, understanding, etc.; mind; intellect.
- brains, Slang. a member of a group who is regarded as its intellectual leader or planner: The junior partner is the brains of the firm.
- Informal. a very intelligent or brilliant person.
- the controlling or guiding mechanism in a computer, robot, pacemaker, etc.
- the part of a computer system for coordination or guidance, as of a missile.
- to smash the skull of.
- Slang. to hit or bang (someone) on the head.
- beat one's brains out, Informal. to try very hard to understand and work out a problem, remember something, etc.: She beat her brains out studying for the exam.
- have something on the brain, to have an obsession; be occupied with: Lately I seem to have food on the brain.
- pick someone's brains, to obtain information by questioning another person rather than by seeking it independently: He refused to prepare for the exam but counted on being able to pick his roommate's brains.
Origin of brain
Synonyms for brainSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Words for brainsintellect, head, scholar, pundit, doctor, sage, intellectual, prodigy, genius, egghead, highbrow, mastermind, academician, Einstein, wit, mentality, cerebellum, encephalon, cerebrum
Examples from the Web for brains
Contemporary Examples of brains
If you read the reactions, she was billed as ‘Beauty and Brains.’Why Was Bess Myerson the First and Last Jewish Miss America?
January 7, 2015
Three films about British brains show the trouble of bringing otherworldly intelligence to the big screen.Why Can’t Movies Capture Genius?
December 14, 2014
Even Tony Hogue and his friend, who was a JF Images booking agent, had trouble wrapping their brains around it.‘I Saved My Friend From Bill Cosby’
December 3, 2014
But both Lauper and the Brains kept on doing new versions over the years.Greil Marcus Talks About Trying to Unlock Rock and Roll in 10 Songs
November 17, 2014
It took a special, meticulous kind of person to accomplish the undertaking, someone with brains, patience, and nerves of steel.The High Society Bank Robber of the 1800s
J. North Conway
October 19, 2014
Historical Examples of brains
It takes a man with some of the brains your pa had to make the game pay now.
I tell you, it's a mighty good thing we got your brains to depend on.
Even if you had the brains, you ain't got the taste nor the sperrit in you.
Perhaps, after all, I might have the brains to jest and toss about words and shoot off epigrams.Viviette
William J. Locke
And found out he is sure to be; he has not the brains to hide a thing!Weighed and Wanting
- the soft convoluted mass of nervous tissue within the skull of vertebrates that is the controlling and coordinating centre of the nervous system and the seat of thought, memory, and emotion. It includes the cerebrum, brainstem, and cerebellumTechnical name: encephalon Related adjectives: cerebral, encephalic
- the main neural bundle or ganglion of certain invertebrates
- (often plural) informal intellectual abilityhe's got brains
- informal shrewdness or cunning
- informal an intellectual or intelligent person
- (usually plural; functioning as singular) informal a person who plans and organizes an undertaking or is in overall control of an organization, etc
- an electronic device, such as a computer, that performs apparently similar functions to the human brain
- on the brain constantly in mindI had that song on the brain
- pick someone's brain to obtain information or ideas from someone
- to smash the skull of
- slang to hit hard on the head
Word Origin for brain
Old English brægen "brain," from Proto-Germanic *bragnam (cf. Middle Low German bregen, Old Frisian and Dutch brein), from PIE root *mregh-m(n)o- "skull, brain" (cf. Greek brekhmos "front part of the skull, top of the head"). But Liberman writes that brain "has no established cognates outside West Germanic ..." and is not connected to the Greek word. More probably, he writes, its etymon is PIE *bhragno "something broken."
The custom of using the plural to refer to the substance (literal or figurative), as opposed to the organ, dates from 16c. Figurative sense of "intellectual power" is from late 14c.; meaning "a clever person" is first recorded 1914. Brain teaser is from 1923. Brain stem first recorded 1879, from German. Brain drain is attested from 1963. An Old English word for "head" was brægnloca, which might be translated as "brain locker." In Middle English, brainsick (Old English brægenseoc) meant "mad, addled."
"to dash the brains out," late 14c., from brain (n.). Related: Brained; braining.
- The portion of the central nervous system that is enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord, and composed of gray matter and white matter. It is the primary center for the regulation and control of bodily activities, receiving and interpreting sensory impulses, and transmitting information to the muscles and body organs. It is also the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, and emotion.encephalon
- The part of the nervous system in vertebrates that is enclosed within the skull, is connected with the spinal cord, and is composed of gray matter and white matter. It is the control center of the central nervous system, receiving sensory impulses from the rest of the body and transmitting motor impulses for the regulation of voluntary movement. The brain also contains the centers of consciousness, thought, language, memory, and emotion. See more at brainstem cerebellum cerebrum.
- A bundle of nerves in many invertebrate animals that is similar to the vertebrate brain in function and position.
The central organ in the nervous system, protected by the skull. The brain consists of the medulla, which sends signals from the spinal cord to the rest of the brain and also controls the autonomic nervous system; the pons, a mass of nerve fibers connected to the medulla; the cerebellum, which controls balance and coordination; and the cerebrum, the outer layer of which, the cerebral cortex, is the location of memory, sight, speech, and other higher functions.
The cerebrum contains two hemispheres (the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere), each of which controls different functions. In general, the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and such functions as spatial perception, whereas the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and functions such as speech.
Under the cerebral cortex are the thalamus, the main relay center between the medulla and the cerebrum; and the hypothalamus, which controls blood pressure, body temperature, hunger, thirst, sex drive, and other visceral functions.
In addition to the idioms beginning with brain
- brain drain
- brain someone
- brain trust
- beat one's brains out
- blow one's brains out
- on one's mind (the brain)
- pick someone's brains
- rack one's brains