Origin of brainstorm

1890–95; brain + storm; originally a severe mental disturbance
Related formsbrain·storm·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for brainstorm

deliberate, ponder, conceive, create, invent, think, plan, analyze, conceptualize

Examples from the Web for brainstorm

Contemporary Examples of brainstorm

Historical Examples of brainstorm

  • "And then my erstwhile associate Jimenez had a brainstorm," said Terry ruefully.

    Creatures of the Abyss

    Murray Leinster

  • Dont worry, said Harvey, Flo probably had a brainstorm and called them already.

    Beginners Luck

    Emily Hahn

  • It may seem rude to say so, but Orangeism consists mainly of a settled hallucination and an annual brainstorm.

  • I fired up my Xbox and opened a word-processor and started to brainstorm ideas for my papers.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • It had been a brainstorm selecting only girls—and pretty young things, at that—for the Interstellar Symphony.

    World Beyond Pluto

    C. H. Thames

British Dictionary definitions for brainstorm



a severe outburst of excitement, often as the result of a transitory disturbance of cerebral activity
British informal a sudden mental aberration
informal another word for brainwave
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

Word Origin and History for brainstorm

"brilliant idea, mental excitement, fit of mental application," 1849, from brain (n.) + figurative use of storm (n.). As a verb, recorded from 1920s. Related: Brainstormed; brainstorming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper