rack your brains


rack your brains


  • put great effort to think of or remember something
  • thinking about something vigorously thus stretching one’s brains
  • struggling hard trying to remember something


  1. I have been racking my brain all day trying to think of place where I kept my car keys.
  2. He had been racking his brains for an idea of a surprise party to her mother on her birthday when his friend arrived and told him of the new place in the city.
  3. The detective kept racking his brain to solve the mystery when his eyes got stuck at the evidence kept on the table.
  4. Do not rack your brain trying to plan for her birthday party. She is going to a hill station with her family a week before.
  5. I racked my brain trying to remember a friend’s phone number after having lost my phone but failed. The next hour she called and I felt sigh of relief.

A rack was an instrument of torture consisting of a platform on which a victim was stretched and their wrists and ankles were tied to the rollers. The expression of to rack someone is to torture them on this platform and the idea in this idiom is to put one’s brains to the same kind of trial in an attempt to remember something.

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