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 The Arizona Daily Star and ProPublica are investigating services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Amy Silverman For Arizona Daily Star, ProPublica, "After a Violent Crime, Arizona Promised Reforms for People With Developmental Disabilities. It Has Yet to Deliver.," 28 Dec. 2020 Penn-Mar Human Services of Carroll County was founded in 1981 as a provider of services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Megan Woodward, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "‘A lot more opportunities’: Penn-Mar helps Carroll residents with developmental disabilities launch business ventures," 28 Dec. 2020 As of mid-November, 232 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Vaccine freezer, Christmas cheer, Iditarod trail switch: News from around our 50 states," 24 Dec. 2020 Aspire serves over 100 residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in 24 community homes across Lake and Cook Counties, Hermes said, and the nonprofit promotes inclusion for its residents in work and the community. Anna Kim, chicagotribune.com, "To brighten the ‘COVID Christmas,’ Oak Park family brings gifts to Franklin Park community homes," 21 Dec. 2020 Family gatherings could be risky for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. cleveland, "Pandemic presents challenges for organizations caring for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities," 15 Nov. 2020 The National Council on Disability makes its argument for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Maggie Fox, CNN, "CDC's vaccine advisers meet to plan next step of Covid-19 vaccine distribution," 20 Dec. 2020 An interactive and engaging virtual presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 6, from 10 to 11 a.m., provides insights into a wellness model incorporating the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, vocational and environmental aspects of life. courant.com, "Community News For The Hebron Edition," 18 Dec. 2020 The state suddenly needed spots for 86 high-needs children — many of them with autism or intellectual and developmental delays. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Abused, neglected children again sleeping in CPS offices in repeat of Texas foster care crisis," 18 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun One morning before sunrise, a Times reporter evaded the minders and entered the home of a prominent Uighur intellectual. Los Angeles Times, "‘Will they let us live?’ Inside Xinjiang, survivors of China’s internment camps speak," 17 Dec. 2020 The Chopin-playing Dutch intellectual, then 31, had written a book denouncing the EU. The Economist, "Thierry Baudet, a populist prodigy, blows up the party he created," 5 Dec. 2020 As a public intellectual, Mr. Williams moved easily between the classroom and public forums that gave him wide reach. New York Times, "Walter E. Williams, 84, Dies; Conservative Economist on Black Issues," 4 Dec. 2020 Scott was an intellectual, who had studied philosophy, including over in Oxford. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "‘Conservative’: A Term Up for Grabs," 18 Nov. 2020 His large glasses and thick mustache made the professor look more like a kindly retiree than the towering intellectual whom friends had raved about. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Remembering Juan Gómez Quiñones, Chicano studies legend and professor to all of L.A.," 17 Nov. 2020 In conventional readings, the first ethic is associated with the purist, who codes as a professor or intellectual, and who cares more about his good intentions than the consequences of his actions. Corey Robin, The New Yorker, "The Professor and the Politician," 12 Nov. 2020 The first time a secular intellectual, Farag Foda, was killed in Egypt, in 1992, he was lauded as a martyr of the nation. Kim Ghattas, The Atlantic, "Lessons From a Place Where the Center Ground is Gone," 1 Nov. 2020 James Randi was an amazing man, a wonderful magician, and a thoughtful intellectual who brought the joy of scientific inquiry to millions. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Famed Magician and Skeptic James Randi Dies at 92: 'A Crusader Against Fakes, Flimflam and Frauds'," 22 Oct. 2020

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

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for intellectual

intellectual

adjective
How to pronounce intellectual (audio)

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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Comments on intellectual

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