No-Brainer —Idiom Meaning & Origin


The phrase no-brainer means a choice that is easily made.

Example: Mike was sweating bullets on a hot summer day and needed to cool off. His friend offered him a cold cup of lemonade, which Mike accepted without hesitation; it was a no-brainer for him. (In other words, he didn’t have to think about it too much; it was a simple decision for him to make.)

In terms of ‘something that is easy’:

1. A cakewalk
2. A piece of cake
3. As easy as pie
4. Walk in the park

The Origin Of ‘No-Brainer’

We need our brains to think and reason on things, that much is obvious. Some choices, however, are considered to be so easy to make, that a person does not even need to think about them much before making them. A choice like this is sometimes called a ‘no-brainer.’

The origins of this phrase don’t seem to be that old. I say this because I could only find it in writing from about 60 years ago. For example, in the Lethbridge Herald newspaper from the year 1968, there’s a part from it that reads like so:

“He’d break in on a goalie and the netminder would make one of those saves that our manager-coach, Sid Abel, calls ‘a no-brainer.’

Example Sentences

  • I recently learned that I am allergic to peanuts, so staying away from them is a no-brainer for me.

Similar Examples:

  • Should I eat oatmeal or cereal for breakfast? The choice was a piece of cake.