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

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 However, while Taurus Venus is all about physical sensuality, Libra Venus is much more cerebral. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What the Position of Venus in Your Birth Chart Means for You," 31 July 2018 In early trials, NurOwn was effective at boosting those nerve growth factors in cerebral spinal fluid of patients. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Under “right-to-try” law, therapy may go for $300K—with no proof it will work," 22 June 2018 All of this is pretty cerebral material, but Dessa makes music for the masses. Ken Capobianco, BostonGlobe.com, "Dessa makes music for the masses. If only the masses knew.," 21 June 2018 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

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

25 Nov 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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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

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