a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, etc., by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion.

Nearby words

  1. brainsick,
  2. brainsickly,
  3. brainstem,
  4. brainstem evoked response audiometry,
  5. brainstorm,
  6. brainteaser,
  7. braintree,
  8. brainwash,
  9. brainwashing,
  10. brainwave

Origin of brainstorming

First recorded in 1955–60; brainstorm + -ing1




  1. a sudden impulse, idea, etc.
  2. a fit of mental confusion or excitement.


of or relating to brainstorming.

verb (used without object)

to conduct or practice brainstorming.

verb (used with object)

to subject (a problem) to brainstorming.

Origin of brainstorm

1890–95; brain + storm; originally a severe mental disturbance

Related formsbrain·storm·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brainstorming

British Dictionary definitions for brainstorming



intensive discussion to solve problems or generate ideas



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 brainstorming



"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