RACK MY BRAINS

Origin:  The rack was an instrument of torture in the middle ages. The victim was placed on a table and their arms and legs were attached to pulleys which pulled in opposite directions, stretching and eventually, tearing the victim apart. The word “rack” became a verb meaning to cause suffering and pain. The verb itself goes back in usage to the 16th and 17th centuries, where it’s found in Shakespeare and other writings. So if your brain is being tortured by straining to remember or understand something, it makes sense to say you are torturing or racking your brain.

 

Usage:  Formal and informal, spoken and written, general British and American English. There is some debate as to the correct spelling and some dictionaries accept both “rack” and “wrack” as correct.

Idiomatic Meaning: To put a great effort into remembering or understanding something

Literal Meaning: To take your own or others’ brains and put them on a rack. A rack may also refer to shelves. Therefore, you are either placing your brains on some shelves or on a torture device.

 

Why is this funny? In the cartoon we see a mad scientist with his assistant Igor.  They  have been conducting some sort of experiments, but now they have a surplus of brains.  The scientist has been struggling to figure out what to do with all the extra brains. So far he has had Igor put them on a rack. So we can say that the scientist has been RACKING HIS BRAINS while he’s been RACKING HIS BRAINS.

 

Sample sentence: Since my old car stopped running, I’ve been RACKING MY BRAINS whether to sell it or donate it to a charity that will come and remove it for free.

RACK MY BRAINS

Origin:  The rack was an instrument of torture in the middle ages. The victim was placed on a table and their arms and legs were attached to pulleys which pulled in opposite directions, stretching and eventually, tearing the victim apart. The word “rack” became a verb meaning to cause suffering and pain. The verb itself goes back in usage to the 16th and 17th centuries, where it’s found in Shakespeare and other writings. So if your brain is being tortured by straining to remember or understand something, it makes sense to say you are torturing or racking your brain.

 

Usage:  Formal and informal, spoken and written, general British and American English. There is some debate as to the correct spelling and some dictionaries accept both “rack” and “wrack” as correct.

Idiomatic Meaning: To put a great effort into remembering or understanding something

Literal Meaning: To take your own or others’ brains and put them on a rack. A rack may also refer to shelves. Therefore, you are either placing your brains on some shelves or on a torture device.

 

Why is this funny? In the cartoon we see a mad scientist with his assistant Igor.  They  have been conducting some sort of experiments, but now they have a surplus of brains.  The scientist has been struggling to figure out what to do with all the extra brains. So far he has had Igor put them on a rack. So we can say that the scientist has been RACKING HIS BRAINS while he’s been RACKING HIS BRAINS.

 

Sample sentence: Since my old car stopped running, I’ve been RACKING MY BRAINS whether to sell it or donate it to a charity that will come and remove it for free.

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