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brain wave

Usually, brain waves. Medicine/Medical. electrical potentials or impulses given off by brain tissue.
Informal. a sudden idea or inspiration; brainstorm.
Origin of brain wave
1865-70 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brain-wave
Historical Examples
  • That vision had been a brain-wave between their two linked and sympathetic brains.

  • But she replies, moved by a brain-wave, to a question that stirred in the doctor's mind.

    Somehow Good William de Morgan
  • He had suffered during his military career from more than one subaltern on whose arid consciousness the brain-wave never beat.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • The Countess had not asked; this was all brain-wave, helped by shades of expression.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost William Frend De Morgan
  • He had had a brain-wave, and for fully a minute he sat tingling under its impact.

    The Girl on the Boat Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
  • Finally as the result of a brain-wave he had requisitioned the local boy scouts.

    Mrs. Bindle Hebert Jenkins
  • My hair had appreciably lifted my tin hat when I had a brain-wave and threw out a double handful of rouble notes.

  • He just loosed another dry Martini into the undergrowth, and before you could turn round it had flushed quite a brain-wave.

    My Man Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse
  • And with this silently furious outburst there came a brain-wave of great magnitude.

British Dictionary definitions for brain-wave

brain wave

any of the fluctuations of electrical potential in the brain as represented on an electroencephalogram. They vary in frequency from 1 to 30 hertz See also alpha rhythm, beta rhythm, delta rhythm
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
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brain-wave in Medicine

brain wave n.
A rhythmic fluctuation of electric potential between parts of the brain, as seen on an electroencephalogram.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for brain-wave

brain wave

noun phrase

A sudden useful idea; brainstorm: Lou had a brain wave. He offered the boy a C note to let him drive (1890s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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