intellectual

adjective
in·​tel·​lec·​tu·​al | \ ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wəl How to pronounce intellectual (audio) , -chəl, -shwəl, -chü(-ə)l \

Definition of intellectual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to the intellect or its use
b : developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : rational
c : requiring use of the intellect intellectual games
2a : given to study, reflection, and speculation
b : engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect intellectual playwrights

intellectual

noun

Definition of intellectual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an intellectual person
2 intellectuals plural, archaic : intellectual powers

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Other Words from intellectual

Adjective

intellectuality \ ˌin-​tə-​ˌlek-​chə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intellectuality (audio) \ noun
intellectually \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wə-​lē How to pronounce intellectually (audio) , -​chə-​lē , -​shwə-​lē , -​chü(-​ə)-​lē \ adverb
intellectualness \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wəl-​nəs How to pronounce intellectualness (audio) , -​chəl-​ , -​shwəl-​ , -​chü(-​ə)l-​ \ noun

Examples of intellectual in a Sentence

Adjective the social and intellectual life of the campus as the daughter of college professors, she's used to being around intellectual people Noun He thinks that he's an intellectual, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. She's a hard worker but she's no great intellectual. a café where artists and intellectuals mingle
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The ablest moralist is thus almost inevitably a kind of intellectual. Yuval Levin, National Review, "The Historian as Moralist," 31 Dec. 2019 Beauchamp’s work provides the best overview of the current intellectual debate surrounding liberalism. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Liberalism Is at a Crossroads, Not a Dead End," 12 Sep. 2019 The new year is expected to bring a change of ownership for Mosaic, a San Antonio provider of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Laura Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio disability services provider to get new owner," 16 Dec. 2019 So, a few years ago, Jemima, now 18, created the Tadcaster Stingrays, an inclusive swim squad in North Yorkshire, England for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Tricia Escobedo, CNN, "If you think Gen Z is entitled and lazy, you haven't met these four kids," 6 Dec. 2019 The Arc of Howard County helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve full community life — one person at a time. Allana Haynes, baltimoresun.com, "Share Your Blessings: How you can help those in need in Howard County," 27 Nov. 2019 Special Olympics of Broward offers 21 sports year-round to children and adults age 8 and up with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Sallarulo’s Race for Champions unifies community with Special Olympians," 26 Nov. 2019 Five children have an intellectual or developmental disability or are on the autism spectrum. oregonlive, "Oregon foster child was abused in Illinois care facility, and now company wants to operate in Oregon, senator says," 20 Nov. 2019 In August, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services announced its intention to close two large state institutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Who Decides Where Pennsylvanians with Disabilities Should Live?," 18 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many intellectuals and activists on the right and left seem to think their job is to be political consultants for their respective parties. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Why the Louisiana Election Is Not a Crushing Loss for Conservatives," 20 Nov. 2019 Beside my chair were collections of letters and memoirs written by intrepid female journalists, intellectuals and novelists, all British or European. Michelle Green, New York Times, "A Nile Journey Guided by 19th-Century Women," 11 Nov. 2019 And those ties were nourished, in part, Tirdad said, by his father, a prominent Iranian intellectual. Eve Bower, CNN, "The voice of his homeland: Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Iran," 4 Oct. 2019 Karpf hadn’t thought Stephens, a public intellectual with more than 140,000 followers on Twitter, would even see his comment, let alone be shaken by it. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Is it ever okay to express your anger by emailing someone else’s boss?," 27 Aug. 2019 Francis Bacon, an English intellectual and early contributor to the movement, thought that through disinterested and open inquiry, nature’s secrets could be understood and then manipulated to the benefit of humankind. The Economist, "A society’s values and beliefs matter for its economy," 25 July 2019 There has been nothing close to a coordinated strategy, and as students and intellectuals are dragged away by riot police officers, many opposition leaders have been cheering on the protesters — from Twitter. New York Times, "As Protests Flare in India, Modi Plays a New Position: Defense," 24 Dec. 2019 This allows a reframe of Alcott’s decision to marry Jo to the older Professor Friedrich Bhaer, an intellectual who befriends and critiques Jo’s writing. Grace Lovelace, Smithsonian, "The New ‘Little Women’ Brings Louisa May Alcott’s Real Life to the Big Screen," 18 Dec. 2019 State institutions were paralyzed as Ethiopia’s brightest intellectuals left the country. Yohannes Gedamu, Quartz Africa, "The new political party of Ethiopia’s Abiy holds much promise but faces significant hurdles," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intellectual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of intellectual

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for intellectual

Time Traveler

The first known use of intellectual was in the 15th century

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Statistics for intellectual

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Intellectuals. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for intellectual

intellectual

adjective
How to pronounce intellectual (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intellectual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the ability to think in a logical way
: involving serious study and thought
of a person : smart and enjoying serious study and thought

intellectual

noun

English Language Learners Definition of intellectual (Entry 2 of 2)

: a smart person who enjoys serious study and thought : an intellectual person

intellectual

adjective
in·​tel·​lec·​tu·​al | \ ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wəl How to pronounce intellectual (audio) \

Kids Definition of intellectual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to thought or understanding intellectual development
2 : interested in serious study and thought an intellectual person
3 : requiring study and thought an intellectual challenge

Other Words from intellectual

intellectually \ -​wə-​lē \ adverb

intellectual

noun

Kids Definition of intellectual (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who takes pleasure in serious study and thought

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Comments on intellectual

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