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

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Other Words from cerebral

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

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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

Scouts like his cerebral approach to the game and desire to learn. 20. oregonlive.com, "NBA mock draft 2019: Pelicans trade No. 4 pick after Anthony Davis deal; Blazers grab a Tar Heel and former Oregon Duck Bol Bol’s strong ‘pro day’ boosts his stock," 18 June 2019 The team continued helping Baidya descend, until, one by one, Nims’s two companions Mingma David and Gesman began to show signs of mild high altitude cerebral edema and were forced to descend. National Geographic, "Meet Nepal's new 'action hero' climber," 24 May 2019 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

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

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

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for cerebral

The first known use of cerebral was in 1801

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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 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

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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

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).


to take the place or position of

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