ce·​re·​bral | \ sə-ˈrē-brəl How to pronounce cerebral (audio) , ˈser-ə- How to pronounce cerebral (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cerebral

cerebrally \ sə-​ˈrē-​brə-​lē How to pronounce cerebrally (audio) , ˈser-​ə-​ , ˈse-​rə-​ \ 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

The cause was dementia caused by cerebral atherosclerosis, said a son, Charles Mercier. Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 22 Jan. 2018 This week, Atelier Ace, the in-house creative studio and operators of Ace Hotel, is debuting Sister City, a quietly elegant and cerebral approach to hospitality. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Atelier Ace's New New York City Hotel Wants to Help You Clear Your Head," 14 May 2019 Under the mentorship of Earl Sweatshirt, MIKE is carrying the torch for cerebral city kids making the most out of the simultaneous everything and nothing NY offers. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "10 Hip-Hop and R&B Artists to Watch in 2018," 5 Jan. 2018 Rondo and Paul, two of the NBA’s most talented, cerebral and antagonistic point guards, have a contentious history that dates back more than a decade. Saturday night is when their simmering tension boiled over. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "LeBron James’s First Game in Los Angeles Turns Into Fight Night," 21 Oct. 2018 Was Simons too cerebral for Klein or was Klein too commercial for Simons? Luke Leitch, Vogue, "6 Talking Points From the Fall 2019 Menswear Season to Come Inspired by Virgil... (Not the Virgil that You’re Thinking Of)," 3 Jan. 2019 Right away, the team saw a blockage in his right middle cerebral artery—a serious stroke. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, "Hospitals Rush to Offer New Stroke Treatment," 26 Dec. 2018 This ensures that things stay hotly competitive right until the end, which makes Emara a deeply satisfying and cerebral gem. Owen Duffy, Ars Technica, "Essen 2018: The best board games from the biggest board game con," 3 Nov. 2018 But the bones of this project are familiar ones, and fans of classic cerebral horror will recognize the specific feelings of looming dread and wonder that horror cinema so often misses in the rush to get to jump scares and sequel setups. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Apostle takes The Wicker Man to a radical new level," 12 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of cerebral

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cerebral

Listen to Our Podcast about cerebral

Statistics for cerebral

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cerebral

The first known use of cerebral was in 1801

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce cerebral (audio) , 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 How to pronounce cerebral (audio) , ˈser-ə- How to pronounce cerebral (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cerebral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cerebral

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cerebral

Spanish Central: Translation of cerebral

Nglish: Translation of cerebral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cerebral for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cerebral

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


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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