ce·re·bral | \sə-ˈrē-brəl, ˈser-ə-, ˈse-rə- \

Definition of cerebral 

1a : of or relating to the brain or the intellect

b : of, relating to, affecting, or being the cerebrum cerebral edema cerebral arteries

2a : appealing to intellectual appreciation cerebral drama

b : primarily intellectual in nature a cerebral society books for cerebral readers

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Other Words from cerebral

cerebrally \-brə-lē \ adverb

Did You Know?

English borrowed its word cerebrum directly from the Latin word for "brain," but the adjective cerebral took a slightly more circuitous route into our language, reaching English by way of French cerebral. Cerebrum has been used in our language as a name for the brain since the early 1600s, though the more specific scientific sense, referring just to the large upper part of the brain, didn't develop until later. Cerebral has been appearing in print in English since at least 1816. Other brainy descendants of cerebrum in English include cerebellum (the part of the brain between the brain stem and the back of the cerebrum) and cerebrate, which arrived in English in 1915 with the meaning "to use the mind" or "to think."

Examples of cerebral in a Sentence

He's a very cerebral comedian. a very cerebral jurist who has given much thought to what makes our nation's constitution work

Recent Examples on the Web

His cerebral game already has plenty of fans around the league, and his production is due for an uptick along with his minutes. 16. Jeremy Woo, SI.com, "2019 NBA Draft Big Board: Top 60 Prospects," 27 June 2018 Rumors of Grizzly Bear’s cerebral preciousness had been greatly exaggerated. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 1: Kane Brown, Walker Hayes, Jethro Tull and more," 27 June 2018 The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage, his wife, Cornelia, told the New York television station WNBC. kansascity, "Journalists, sports figures and an endearing gorilla leave us," 22 June 2018 Digestion stops, climbers can suffer crippling headaches, and fluid build up in the brain or lungs (cerebral and pulmonary edemas) can become fatal. Time, "The Ethics of Climbing Everest: Double Amputee Xia Boyu’s Feat Fuels Debates About Who Belongs on the Roof of the World," 3 Apr. 2018 But Wilkie, a cerebral, modest policy wonk, is no apolitical public servant. Paul Sonne And Lisa Rein, miamiherald, "Trump's VA pick, a longtime aide to polarizing politicians, has defended extreme views," 26 June 2018 Every week for the second season of Westworld, three Atlantic staffers will discuss new episodes of HBO’s cerebral sci-fi drama. The Atlantic, "Westworld: Is This Now?," 24 June 2018 He was diagnosed with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RVS), which happens when vessels supplying blood to the brain tighten. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Man hospitalized with rare condition after eating the hottest chili pepper in the world," 10 Apr. 2018 The headache was the result of an unusual blood vessel condition called reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), doctors reported in the British Medical Journal’s Case Reports. NBC News, "Carolina Reaper pepper causes thunderclap headache, doctors say," 9 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cerebral.' 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 cerebral

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cerebral

French cérébral, from Latin cerebrum brain; akin to Old High German hirni brain, Greek kara head, keras horn, Sanskrit śiras head — more at horn

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for cerebral

The first known use of cerebral was in 1816

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More Definitions for cerebral



English Language Learners Definition of cerebral

medical : of or relating to the brain

: related to the mind rather than to feelings : intellectual and not emotional


ce·re·bral | \sə-ˈrē-brəl, ˈser-ə-brəl\

Kids Definition of cerebral

1 : of or relating to the brain or mind

2 : of, relating to, or affecting the cerebrum


ce·re·bral | \sə-ˈrē-brəl, ˈser-ə- \

Medical Definition of cerebral 

1 : of or relating to the brain or the intellect

2 : of, relating to, affecting, or being the cerebrum cerebral blood flow cerebral toxoplasmosis

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a state of commotion or excitement

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