beat one's brains (out), to

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beat one's brains (out), to

A more colloquial version of cudgel one’s brains or rack one’s brain, meaning, like them, to strain to remember something or solve a difficult problem. It dates from the sixteenth century, when Christopher Marlowe wrote, “Guise beats his brains to catch us in his trap” (The Massacre of Paris, 1593, 1.1).
See also: beat, brain