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

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
Recent Examples on the Web But even more than his stretchy limbs or super-genius intellect, Reed's defining feature is his commitment to his family. Christian Holub,, 9 May 2022 One mom curates the best constructive playdates to stimulate the children’s intellect and nourish their bodies with healthy snacks. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, 4 May 2022 Dionne, who combines keen intellect with an impish wit, went first. Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2022 Her story speaks to many women of that time where curiosity and intellect were looked down upon. Sharareh Drury, Variety, 10 Apr. 2022 Trevor’s glittering intellect delighted many adults. Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 Hongo’s roving intellect plants surprises on every page of this memoir, which is ostensibly about his coming of age and love for music but also makes space for meditations on sound waves, poetry and race in America. Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2022 Developing something yourself, funding it yourself and making a business plan, that idea and intellect, came from John Acquaviva. Lily Moayeri, Billboard, 1 Apr. 2022 This trend of mass over intellect makes sense because a large, specialized brain does not come cheap, Xiaoming Wang, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, said. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intellect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for intellect


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

More from Merriam-Webster on intellect

Nglish: Translation of intellect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intellect for Arabic Speakers


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