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

British Dictionary definitions for brainstormer


/ (ˈbreɪnˌstɔːm) /


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 brainstormer



"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