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 intellectuality (audio) \ noun
intellectually \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wə-​lē How to pronounce intellectually (audio) , -​chə-​lē , -​shwə-​lē , -​chü(-​ə)-​lē \ adverb
intellectualness \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wəl-​nəs How to pronounce intellectualness (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

Hutzler belongs to the music group United by Music North America, a performance and mentorship program for musically talented people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. oregonlive.com, "Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland hits special note for special Pacific Northwest group," 4 July 2019 Currently, intellectual agendas in British universities operate to maintain a narrow, inward looking perspective that reinforces the logics of Orientalism (the Western attitude that views Eastern societies as exotic, primitive, and inferior). Katy Sian, Quartz, "“Liberal racism” continues to plague Britain’s universities," 27 June 2019 But the stakes are not those of intellectual gymnastics. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Why the US can afford to stay calm with Iran," 27 June 2019 This person is a perfectionist who thinks about things on an intellectual level and may come off as unemotional. Erika W. Smith, refinery29.com, "Do “The Hills” Reboot Cast’s Star Charts Mean They’re Fated For Drama?," 25 June 2019 Like firstborn children or kids with one sibling, only children were found to have some intellectual and academic advantages. Caitlin Gibson, The Denver Post, "The rise of the only child: How America is coming around to the idea of ‘just one’," 25 June 2019 Her dad is an intellectual and a gardener -- characteristics that don't fit the typical dad mold. Elizabeth Lawrence, USA TODAY, "Grilling-themed Father's Day cards are at steak: Some folks are done with dad stereotypes," 14 June 2019 And while the real crisis of masculinity is male violence against women, the proliferation of pseudo-intellectual charlatans simultaneously seeding and harvesting the anxieties of young men for their own uses isn’t helping. Jonny Diamond, Longreads, "Lumbersexuality, a Sport and a Pastime," 8 June 2019 Her investigation is intellectual and unsparingly complex. The New Yorker, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The letter was signed by such notable conservative intellectuals as Thomas Pyle of the American Energy Alliance, Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Phil Kerpen of American Commitment. David Roberts, Vox, "Frank Luntz vs. Grover Norquist: the GOP’s climate change dilemma in a nutshell," 21 June 2019 Her life-size version of the game on a four-by-four grid features black and green circular pieces that have quotes by various intellectuals such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, bell hooks and Madeleine L'Engle. Dallas News, "West Dallas sculpture park provides an oasis in a rapidly changing neighborhood," 19 June 2019 In October 1914, German theologians endorsed a letter by prominent intellectuals that declared Kaiser Wilhelm II’s war policy a defensive necessity. Joseph Loconte, WSJ, "What World War I Taught the Clergy," 8 Nov. 2018 This month 56 intellectuals and activists published a letter accusing the government of politicising institutions to help Mr Meade’s candidacy. The Economist, "How AMLO could win Mexico’s election," 28 Mar. 2018 Baldwin, also recognized as a civil rights activist and intellectual, lived in his Manhattan Upper West Side home from 1965 until his death in 1987. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Homes Of James Baldwin, Audre Lorde Among LGBTQ Sites Given Landmark Designation," 19 June 2019 Burle Marx began his career as a painter, hanging out in the Brazilian equivalent of Montmartre with artists and intellectuals. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "The exuberant career of the Brazilian designer Roberto Burle Marx brings the oft-overlooked field of landscape architecture to the foreground," 11 June 2019 The secular Republic—as defended by Sarkozy, Hollande, and then Valls, along with numerous intellectuals and editorial writers—conveniently united the fight against Islamist obscurantism in France with that in Afghanistan. Rony Brauman, Harper's magazine, "Salable Virtues," 10 Apr. 2019 Beast - Colin Hanks An intellectual who also revels in being a hero, Hank McCoy has learned to become comfortable with his mutation and is the character most likely to form bonds between the X-Men and other heroes. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Who Can Play the X-Men Now?," 7 June 2019

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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Statistics for intellectual

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intellectual

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

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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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Comments on intellectual

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