think tank

noun
a research institute or organization employed to solve complex problems or predict or plan future developments, as in military, political, or social areas.
Also called think factory.


Origin:
1900–05 for earlier sense “brain”; 1955–60 for current sense

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

think tank definition


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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The think tank focuses in part on how to make computer games more educational, not merely pastimes for kids with dexterous thumbs.
Yet except for one think tank, nobody has tried to calculate that value.
After she was released, she went to graduate school in economics and then worked in a think tank.
They could be any libertarian think tank, with that.
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