long on brains
Does this mean 'be smart' or 'having many smart people'?
One dictionary says 'long' means 'having or being more than normal or necessary'.
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You can say
I am short of time.
I am short on coffee.
Be long on something then would convey the opposite meaning. It means you would have a good or large supply or endowment (10).
We are long on corn.
I think the problem we have is that we are long on generalities and short on specifics.
As @James pointed out, "long on brains" means "being bright and intelligent". Initially, it didn't make sense to me and my best guess was that it could be said by a seller of animals' brains at the wet market who has a sufficient amount of brains.
Does this mean 'be smart' or 'having many smart people?
In American English, it’s a personal characteristic. To be “long on brains” means to have a lot of brain power (colloquially “brains”), but it is also part of a common idiom that implies that one is “long” on something (brain power, physical prowess, or some other characteristic) while being “short” in another.
Some stereotypes use this, like sportsmen being assumed to be “long on brawn, but short on brains” or technology people being thought of as long on brains, but short on build, personality, or social skills. These are stereotypes, and like all such generalizations they are often inaccurate, and so the idiom should be considered informal and (potentially) rude or insensitive.
"Brains" usually means just one smart brain because English is weird. We might say "Sue's got brains" to mean she's smart. Comparing a smart person to a strong one is "brains over brawn". It could be "brain over brawn" but if you Google, "brains over brawn" comes up more often. Or "ain't got the brains god gave a goat" means they're stupid.
Long meaning "to be good at" comes from card games such as Bridge. Your cards are sometimes laid out by suit which means lots of one suit (which is good) is visually long. "Clubs are your long suit" in cards becomes "brains are her long suit", or more commonly "strong suit". In cards we might also say "long in clubs" which becomes "long on brains".
I would assume this phrase is borrowed from the stock market. There you can be long on some position, which means you think it will be more valuable in the future. Being short on something means you think its value will fall.
So "long on brains" could mean the speaker thinks having a brain (=being intelligent) will be more valuable in the future.