|1.||Technical name: encephalon the soft convoluted mass of nervous tissue within the skull of vertebrates that is the controlling and coordinating centre of the nervous system and the seat of thought, memory, and emotion. It includes the cerebrum, brainstem, and cerebellumRelated: cerebral, encephalic|
|2.||the main neural bundle or ganglion of certain invertebrates|
|3.||informal (often plural) intellectual ability: he's got brains|
|4.||informal shrewdness or cunning|
|5.||informal an intellectual or intelligent person|
|6.||informal (usually plural; functioning as singular) a person who plans and organizes an undertaking or is in overall control of an organization, etc|
|7.||an electronic device, such as a computer, that performs apparently similar functions to the human brain|
|8.||on the brain constantly in mind: I had that song on the brain|
|9.||pick someone's brain to obtain information or ideas from someone|
|10.||to smash the skull of|
|11.||slang to hit hard on the head|
|Related: cerebral, encephalic|
|[Old English brægen; related to Old Frisian brein, Middle Low German bregen, Greek brekhmos forehead]|
The portion of the central nervous system that is enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord, and composed of gray matter and white matter. It is the primary center for the regulation and control of bodily activities, receiving and interpreting sensory impulses, and transmitting information to the muscles and body organs. It is also the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, and emotion. Also called encephalon.
brain [%PREMIUM_LINK%] (brān) Pronunciation Key |
(click for larger image in new window)
The central organ in the nervous system, protected by the skull. The brain consists of the medulla, which sends signals from the spinal cord to the rest of the brain and also controls the autonomic nervous system; the pons, a mass of nerve fibers connected to the medulla; the cerebellum, which controls balance and coordination; and the cerebrum, the outer layer of which, the cerebral cortex, is the location of memory, sight, speech, and other higher functions.
The cerebrum contains two hemispheres (the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere), each of which controls different functions. In general, the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and such functions as spatial perception, whereas the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and functions such as speech.
Under the cerebral cortex are the thalamus, the main relay center between the medulla and the cerebrum; and the hypothalamus, which controls blood pressure, body temperature, hunger, thirst, sex drive, and other visceral functions.