intellectual

adjective
in·​tel·​lec·​tu·​al | \ ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wəl How to pronounce intellectual (audio) , -chəl, -shwəl, -chü(-ə)l \

Definition of intellectual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to the intellect or its use
b : developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : rational
c : requiring use of the intellect intellectual games
2a : given to study, reflection, and speculation
b : engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect intellectual playwrights

intellectual

noun

Definition of intellectual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an intellectual person
2 intellectuals plural, archaic : intellectual powers

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Other Words from intellectual

Adjective

intellectuality \ ˌin-​tə-​ˌlek-​chə-​ˈwa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce intellectual (audio) \ noun
intellectually \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wə-​lē How to pronounce intellectual (audio) , -​chə-​lē , -​shwə-​lē , -​chü(-​ə)-​lē \ adverb
intellectualness \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wəl-​nəs How to pronounce intellectual (audio) , -​chəl-​ , -​shwəl-​ , -​chü(-​ə)l-​ \ noun

Examples of intellectual in a Sentence

Adjective the social and intellectual life of the campus as the daughter of college professors, she's used to being around intellectual people Noun He thinks that he's an intellectual, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. She's a hard worker but she's no great intellectual. a café where artists and intellectuals mingle
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Nkwanta and Barber argue that Banneker achieved remarkable success as an intellectual, particularly given the societal constraints placed on Black men in the antebellum U.S. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 May 2021 Many women would value warmth, affection, compatible ethics and morals and an intellectual equal to share their life with. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 25 Mar. 2021 To show that Martin is a manual laborer, Marcello offers a quick shot of him in a boat’s engine room; to show that Martin is an aspiring intellectual, Marcello supplies a quick shot of him scribbling. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 21 Oct. 2020 Our goal is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a safe, satisfying and meaningful life in our community. Chron, 29 May 2021 People with intellectual and developmental disabilities especially are now in a better position to again work on asserting more freedom and personal control of their own lives. Andrew Pulrang, Forbes, 27 May 2021 The Arc of Arizona, which works to protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was one of several advocacy groups, plus two individual Arizonans, who filed the federal complaint. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, 25 May 2021 Penn-Mar, founded by 12 families in 1981, serves nearly 2,000 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities each year in Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Frederick counties and in southern York county in Pennsylvania. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, 13 May 2021 In 2018, a federal court ruling found Illinois was not in compliance with a 2011 consent decree requiring the state to make community services more accessible to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, 11 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Netanyahu, unlike Trump, is both a professional politician and an intellectual. Anshel Pfeffer, CNN, 9 June 2021 As much as a knack for provocation or his scholarly bona fides, what Ferguson has been selling for 20 years as a major public intellectual is prescience. Ian Beacock, The New Republic, 7 June 2021 Cicero was the first intellectual to rise to prominence in politics, and his life offers perhaps the best warning on record to intellectuals to steer clear of politics. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 4 June 2021 No gradation exists between the two: You are born either a knowledge-acquiring intellectual or a sensation-seeking normal. Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2021 Brooks’s mother is none other than Barbara Ehrenreich, the socialist activist, feminist intellectual, and outsize luminary in the American leftist firmament. Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic, 25 May 2021 Hagler’s method seems to serve as a mechanism to subvert normal intellectual and aesthetic maneuvers, allowing something more direct and essential to emerge. Matthew Bourbon, Dallas News, 28 Apr. 2021 Her mother had many sides: the playful intellectual whom Ms. Kouchner adored; the woman who turned to drink after the suicides of both her parents; the suffering parent whose sister, the actress Marie-France Pisier, also died in an apparent suicide. New York Times, 29 Jan. 2021 Still, in 1913, the Black intellectual and writer W.E.B. Dubois brought the National Assn. Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2021

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for intellectual

Time Traveler

The first known use of intellectual was in the 15th century

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Statistics for intellectual

Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for intellectual

intellectual

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of intellectual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to the ability to think in a logical way
: involving serious study and thought
of a person : smart and enjoying serious study and thought

intellectual

noun

English Language Learners Definition of intellectual (Entry 2 of 2)

: a smart person who enjoys serious study and thought : an intellectual person

intellectual

adjective
in·​tel·​lec·​tu·​al | \ ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wəl How to pronounce intellectual (audio) \

Kids Definition of intellectual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to thought or understanding intellectual development
2 : interested in serious study and thought an intellectual person
3 : requiring study and thought an intellectual challenge

Other Words from intellectual

intellectually \ -​wə-​lē \ adverb

intellectual

noun

Kids Definition of intellectual (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who takes pleasure in serious study and thought

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