in·​tel·​lect | \ ˈin-tə-ˌlekt How to pronounce intellect (audio) \

Definition of intellect

1a : the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge
b : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought especially when highly developed
2 : a person with great intellectual powers

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Examples of intellect in a Sentence

She is a woman of superior intellect. She has a sharp intellect. We were required to read a book every week in order to develop our intellects. music that appeals to the intellect while still satisfying the emotions
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Recent Examples on the Web These dimensions appear to have built upon a combination of intellect and emotional responses, the latter of which were once grounded in organic survival imperatives. Lettie Prell, Wired, "The Future of Work: ‘Collaborative Configurations of Minds’ by Lettie Prell," 4 Dec. 2020 Knowland’s insistence that boys be allowed to weigh arguments and information on the scales of their own intellect is nothing but an obstacle to the vainglorious egomaniac in the Head Master’s office. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "England’s Top School Fires Teacher for Thought Crimes," 4 Dec. 2020 But Judd’s certainty and his high opinion of his own intellect were of a different order. David Salle, The New York Review of Books, "Object Lessons," 1 Dec. 2020 James also has effectively let the voter see both his intellect and raw energy. Salena Zito, Washington Examiner, "Sleeper race could wake up Michigan and shock the nation," 31 Oct. 2020 It’s about respecting our students, engaging with them, giving young people the space to show their own intellect and scholarship, and having all of this inform our practice as teachers. Kristina Rizga, The Atlantic, "Working for Racial Justice as a White Teacher," 28 Oct. 2020 Ice Ages were so slow-moving that animals and plants could retreat before them and survive, but intellect is a raging fire. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020 Blosser won high marks for his intellect, his way with people and for being cool under fire. oregonlive, "Blosser quits as Kate Brown’s chief of staff to join Biden team," 13 Nov. 2020 Her presence on that stage speaks of the influence of Black women in our democracy, but also the ways in which respect for their intellect, their womanhood and their individuality has been slow to come. Washington Post, "Kamala Harris made history with quiet, exquisite power," 8 Nov. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for intellect

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin intellectus, from intellegere to understand — more at intelligent

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Time Traveler for intellect

Time Traveler

The first known use of intellect was in the 14th century

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Statistics for intellect

Last Updated

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intellect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for intellect


How to pronounce intellect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intellect

: the ability to think in a logical way
: a very smart person : a person whose intellect is well developed


in·​tel·​lect | \ ˈin-tə-ˌlekt How to pronounce intellect (audio) \

Kids Definition of intellect

1 : the ability to think and understand She has a superior intellect.
2 : a person with great powers of thinking and reasoning


in·​tel·​lect | \ ˈint-ᵊl-ˌekt How to pronounce intellect (audio) \

Medical Definition of intellect

1 : the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge
2 : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought

Other Words from intellect

intellectual \ ˌint-​ᵊl-​ˈek-​ch(ə-​w)əl, -​ˈeksh-​wəl How to pronounce intellect (audio) \ adjective
intellectually adverb

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