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BRAIN DRAIN

noun; compounding
The trend of decreasing numbers of scientific and engineering professionals within the U.S., and the simultaneous outflow of these jobs to foreign markets, especially China and India Brain-Drain refers to the decreasing number of Americans entering the scientific and engineering fields, and the increasing trend of outsourcing these jobs to foreign nations like China and India. The words BRAIN and DRAIN were obviously compounded because they rhymed, but the DRAIN root also signifies the metaphorical “outflow” of these positions to other countries. Clearly, the root BRAIN does not refer to the physical part of the body, as that would make no sense, but instead refers to the “smarts, intelligence, or wit” of the scientists and engineers.
 
America’s BRAIN DRAIN Crisis
Etymology : Compound of brain < Middle English bregen < Indo-European base *mregh-m(n)o-, ‘skull’ + drain < Middle English dreinen < Old English dreahnian ‘to strain off,’ by rhyming similarity, and metaphorical association to the outflow of water
Source : Reader’s Digest, December 2005, p. 109
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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