think tank

See synonyms for think tank on
  1. a research institute or organization employed to solve complex problems or predict or plan future developments, as in military, political, or social areas.

Origin of think tank

1900–05 for earlier sense “brain”; 1955–60 for current sense
  • Also called think factory. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use think tank in a sentence

  • Got a old maid with her to keep her company—a chapper-own, they say—which ain't in no ways illuminatin' my think-tank none.

    The Trail Horde | Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Well, just lemmee drop it into your think tank, an' lay to what I say.

  • You ought to be sent to Sulphur Springs and get your think-tank hoed out.

    The Uphill Climb | B. M. Bower
  • One more bubble out of the old think-tank and I'll let you off for the day.

    Skylark Three | Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for think-tank


  1. informal a group of specialists organized by a business enterprise, governmental body, etc, and commissioned to undertake intensive study and research into specified problems

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

Cultural definitions for think tank

think tank

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.