No-Brainer —Idiom Meaning & Origin

Meaning:

A choice that is easily made.

Example: On a hot summer day, Mike’s friend offered him a cold cup of lemonade. Mike was sweating bullets from the heat, so accepting the lemonade was a no-brainer for him.

In other words, he didn’t even have to really think about it. Since he was so thirsty, the decision was very simple for him.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
A cakewalk
As easy as pie
A piece of cake
Walk in the park

The Origin Of “No-Brainer”

Obviously we need a brain to think and reason on things. Some choices, though, are considered to be so easy, that you don’t even need to think that much about them before reaching a decision. 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 Sentence(s)

  1. I wanted to work on my car today, but it’s outside and it’s raining out there. I could still do it, or I could just stay inside and wait for better weather tomorrow. It’s a no-brainer, I’ll wait for better weather.

Note: The origin of many common idioms cannot be said with a certainty. What’s provided, then, are theories that may be plausible to how originated. If no theories are listed, then there will usually be a quote of the earliest known citation of the phrase. These come from old newspapers, poems, or books that were written centuries ago.

Also, keep in mind, that just because I quote an old newspaper, that does not mean the expression originated from that year. The purpose of the quote is to give the reader an idea on how old the expression is.

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