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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from intellectual

Adjective

intellectuality \ ˌin-​tə-​ˌlek-​chə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intellectual (audio) \ noun
intellectually \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wə-​lē How to pronounce intellectual (audio) , -​chə-​lē , -​shwə-​lē , -​chü(-​ə)-​lē \ adverb
intellectualness \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wəl-​nəs How to pronounce intellectual (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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective All of this matters little to Trump, who offsets his lack of policy knowledge and lack of intellectual curiosity with sheer bravado. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Has an American President Ever Been Worse at Politics?," 28 Dec. 2020 Another goal: training providers, family members and others on how to recognize signs of abuse among people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Amy Silverman For Arizona Daily Star, ProPublica, "After a Violent Crime, Arizona Promised Reforms for People With Developmental Disabilities. It Has Yet to Deliver.," 28 Dec. 2020 Dickerson also had an intellectual curiosity that belied the stereotype of a burly offensive lineman. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "The stories behind the grit, smarts Landon Dickerson brings to Alabama," 17 Dec. 2020 Like the Foundation for Developmental Disabilities, the San Diego Regional Center is a nonprofit that helps persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities living in San Diego and Imperial counties. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Nonprofit donates $10K to restore heating for Rancho San Diego family," 17 Dec. 2020 Andrew had incredible intellectual curiosity and never stopped learning about issues. Nr Symposium, National Review, "Men of Heroic Virtue Can Live in the World Today — Andrew Walther Did," 6 Dec. 2020 Promoting anti-vaccine propaganda and shrouding it in intellectual curiosity is asinine. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "'Black Panther' star Letitia Wright tweets controversial vaccine video, says she's being canceled," 4 Dec. 2020 Promoting anti-vaccine propaganda and shrouding it in intellectual curiosity is asinine. TheWeek, "Black Panther star Letitia Wright slammed after tweeting anti-vaccine video," 4 Dec. 2020 The heightened risks faced by people with developmental and intellectual disabilities has raised questions about the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "“It’s been a challenge:” The coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on people with disabilities," 28 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dallis Wolfe was the youngest of three brothers and was, by all accounts, an intellectual. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Suspect in killing of Alabama A&M student captured by U.S. Marshals at Vestavia Hills hotel," 21 Jan. 2021 Le Bon, a French intellectual, was not yet 7 during the 1848 rebellion in Paris. Star Tribune, "Making sense of the 'mob' mentality," 14 Jan. 2021 One morning before sunrise, a Times reporter evaded the minders and entered the home of a prominent Uighur intellectual. Los Angeles Times, "‘Will they let us live?’ Inside Xinjiang, survivors of China’s internment camps speak," 17 Dec. 2020 The Chopin-playing Dutch intellectual, then 31, had written a book denouncing the EU. The Economist, "Thierry Baudet, a populist prodigy, blows up the party he created," 5 Dec. 2020 As a public intellectual, Mr. Williams moved easily between the classroom and public forums that gave him wide reach. New York Times, "Walter E. Williams, 84, Dies; Conservative Economist on Black Issues," 4 Dec. 2020 Scott was an intellectual, who had studied philosophy, including over in Oxford. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "‘Conservative’: A Term Up for Grabs," 18 Nov. 2020 His large glasses and thick mustache made the professor look more like a kindly retiree than the towering intellectual whom friends had raved about. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Remembering Juan Gómez Quiñones, Chicano studies legend and professor to all of L.A.," 17 Nov. 2020 In conventional readings, the first ethic is associated with the purist, who codes as a professor or intellectual, and who cares more about his good intentions than the consequences of his actions. Corey Robin, The New Yorker, "The Professor and the Politician," 12 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of intellectual

Adjective

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

Noun

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intellectual

Time Traveler for intellectual

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for intellectual

Last Updated

17 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for intellectual

intellectual

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on intellectual

What made you want to look up intellectual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!