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Thu., Aug. 2, 2012, 1:55 a.m.

A Word A Day — cerebrate

August 02, 2012

Word of the Day

  • cerebrate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SAIR-uh-brayt\


: to use the mind : think

Jane is apt to cerebrate at length before making even minor decisions.

"You can't cerebrate over what you can't see, which therefore becomes an object of loathing and mistrust." — From an article by Howard Portnoy at, June 25, 2012


When you think of the human brain, you might think of the cerebrum, the large, fissured upper portion of the brain that is recognized as the neural control center for thought and sensory perception. In 1853, Dr. William Carpenter thought of the cerebrum when he coined "unconscious cerebration," a term describing the mental process by which people seem to do the right thing or come up with the right answer without conscious effort. People thought enough of Carpenter's coinage to use it as the basis of "cerebrate," though the verb refers to active thinking rather than subconscious processing. "Cerebrate," "cerebrum," and the related adjective "cerebral" all derive from the Latin word for "brain," which is "cerebrum."

From Merriam-Webster Online at

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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.