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    #1

    pick someone’s brain

    Dear teachers,

    Would you tell me whether I am right about my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?

    ..Hugo Usher.. had achieved his position though a facility for tabulating statistics, but more especially through push, well-timed publicity, and a remarkable capacity for picking other people’s brains. (A. J. Cronin, “Shannon’s Way”)

    He wants to pick your brains on medieval literature.

    pick someone’s brain = sponge on someone’s work, knowledge, ideas for one’s profit

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

  1. Johnson_F's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: pick someone’s brain

    To me, 'sponge on' has negative, parasitic, connotations. If you pick someone's brains, you ask for their expert, knowledgeable opinion. This is often freely given. Of course, the receiver of the information does 'profit' from this, but not in a sponging way.

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    #3

    Re: pick someone’s brain

    Hi Jonson_F,

    Thank you for your kindness.

    I take into consideration your positive philosophy.

    Would you be kind enough to tell me something about the interpretation of the Americanisn "brain picker"?

    V.

  2. Johnson_F's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: pick someone’s brain

    Sorry, but my British English does not include 'brain-picker'. I would guess that it is a person who frequently picks the brains of others; I would further guess that it may have negative connotations.

    Unfortunately these are only guesses. I hope than an American may answer from knowledge.

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    #5

    Re: pick someone’s brain


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