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 This was the England that in the past century produced Winston Churchill, Evelyn Waugh, Rebecca West, Hugh Trevor-Roper; the England whose traditions, in dress, wit, intellectual life, were admirable in so many ways. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "‘Signatures’ Review: In His Good Books," 15 May 2020 Hegel had died a decade earlier, but his ideas remained a dominant force in European intellectual life, and Kierkegaard had a fiercely negative reaction to them. Christopher Beha, Harper's Magazine, "Difficulties Everywhere," 27 Apr. 2020 The document stated that people with certain intellectual and developmental disabilities could potentially be denied access to ventilators during a severe pandemic. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "Alabama disavows plan to limit ventilators for disabled during shortages," 8 Apr. 2020 The county said 25 staff members at the center, which cares for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, have tested positive. Joseph Hoyt, Dallas News, "Dallas County reports 100 new coronavirus cases and two deaths for second-consecutive day," 2 Apr. 2020 But if the cooking at HLAY is an intellectual exercise in culinary pluralism, the food at All Day Baby is much more , in the way memoirist Mary Karr would use the word. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Silver Lake’s All Day Baby is brightest at breakfast and lunch," 12 Mar. 2020 For the 45-year-old Marcus, his wife, Janice, and their 15-year-old daughter, Lorelei, this isn’t just an intellectual exercise. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Space and sci-fi historian lives in 55-year time warp," 6 Oct. 2019 The act established rules of copyright for intellectual works. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Brewers try to find something new to do in sixth week of sheltering in place," 4 May 2020 Classes will also help students develop both their intellectual and emotional intelligence and their ability to work with others. Michael Braga, USA TODAY, "Summer internship canceled? Not at these companies embracing virtual versions," 3 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As Avineri notes, Gans could not have secured his professorship without taking this step, which became a subject of some controversy among Berlin’s intellectuals. Peter E. Gordon, The New Republic, "Karl Marx’s Prophetic Longing," 6 Apr. 2020 Chiang’s henchmen imprisoned and murdered large numbers of Taiwanese intellectuals and professionals who resisted KMT rule. Ian Buruma, Harper's Magazine, "Common Enemy," 23 Nov. 2019 This past week, in an impassioned letter to African leaders calling for health workers’ status to be enhanced and hospital infrastructure upgraded, 88 intellectuals from across the continent returned to the idea of universal health care. Ruth Maclean, New York Times, "10 African Countries Have No Ventilators. That’s Only Part of the Problem.," 18 Apr. 2020 These intellectuals fought for equality, dignity, and the sanctity of human life. Agnes Callard, The New Yorker, "What Do the Humanities Do In a Crisis?," 11 Apr. 2020 The young Mao became an urban intellectual, working as a librarian at Peking University and spending time with Marxists and anarchists. Julian Gewirtz, Harper's Magazine, "To Rebel Is Justified," 30 Mar. 2020 The great historian of Victorian Britain had a message for today’s elite THE LAST of the great Victorian intellectuals died on December 30th. The Economist, "Gertrude Himmelfarb and the politics of virtue," 11 Jan. 2020 The prime minister and his colleagues have held intellectuals and experts in disdain, and promoted traditional medicine in the past, undermining the health ministry’s efforts to combat misinformation by endorsing homeopathic prophylactic treatment. Vidya Krishnan, The Atlantic, "The Callousness of India’s COVID-19 Response," 27 Mar. 2020 As Levin and Ponnuru see it, the Trump presidency has posed two problems for the wonks and intellectuals of the Right. Tanner Greer, National Review, "Learning the Wrong Lessons from Reform Conservatism," 17 Mar. 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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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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