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 So are those who possess the intellectual, financial, and social capital to shield themselves from the risks of unemployment, economic ruin, and isolation. Samuel Goldman, National Review, "The Populist Wager," 9 Jan. 2020 Do things that give you emotional, intellectual, and resource deposits, not just financial ones. Steve Booren, The Denver Post, "Improving Investor Behavior: Investing time now will pay dividends later," 17 Nov. 2019 But in truth, this was largely a war between intellectual fads — one that hid a far more important commonality between Trump and the Davos set. Jeff Spross, TheWeek, "Of course Davos loves Trump," 22 Jan. 2020 Bonnell first waded into the online political discourse a few years ago, driven by a kind of intellectual fury. Trevor Quirk, Wired, "Can This Notorious Troll Turn People Away From Extremism?," 15 Jan. 2020 Most of the children who were secluded had intellectual or behavioral disabilities. Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, "Illinois Lawmakers Are Calling for a Nationwide Ban on Isolated Timeouts of Students," 15 Jan. 2020 Logical, practical and well-organized, Virgos crave structured travel and intellectual stimulation. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Where To Travel In 2020 Based On Your Zodiac Sign," 11 Jan. 2020 Worldly, intellectual, and an animated and engaging speaker, Mary Jane was pleased to be invited to join Friday Club, a local women's group. courant.com, "Mary Jane Crosson," 8 Dec. 2019 The organization serves people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Former lawmaker Bev Hermon remembered as supporter of charter schools, people with disabilities," 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 1946 Paepcke asked Bayer to move to Aspen to design a cultural retreat for business executives, intellectuals and music lovers. Wendy Moonan, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Pioneering Work of Graphic Artist Herbert Bayer," 4 Feb. 2020 Less than thirty-five years later a fair number of American intellectuals and American Jews had opted for neoconservatism. John Lukacs, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Right," 20 Jan. 2020 Adding to the urgency behind Noname's initiative is the fact that many of the smaller, independent bookstores that are disappearing had once served as gathering places for Black intellectuals and changemakers at crucial points in history. Tayo Bero, Teen Vogue, "Noname Is Fighting to Save Black Intellectual Spaces," 17 Jan. 2020 The earthquake killed leading intellectuals, artists, feminists, and other well-known change makers of Haitian society, whose departure is being felt even today as the country struggles with its present and future. National Geographic, "Unlimited access to today’s stories, videos, and photo galleries," 10 Jan. 2020 Founded in 1540 by the Basque theologian Ignatius of Loyola and a group of intellectuals at the University of Paris, many early Jesuit missionaries who joined the Society became teachers in a range of spiritual and secular topics. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "What a Jesuit school in Manila can teach us about the purpose of companies," 16 Dec. 2019 Many intellectuals and activists on the right and left seem to think their job is to be political consultants for their respective parties. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Why the Louisiana Election Is Not a Crushing Loss for Conservatives," 20 Nov. 2019 Beside my chair were collections of letters and memoirs written by intrepid female journalists, intellectuals and novelists, all British or European. Michelle Green, New York Times, "A Nile Journey Guided by 19th-Century Women," 11 Nov. 2019 And those ties were nourished, in part, Tirdad said, by his father, a prominent Iranian intellectual. Eve Bower, CNN, "The voice of his homeland: Shirzad Bozorgmehr in Iran," 4 Oct. 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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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

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectuality?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=i&file=intell05. Accessed 22 Feb. 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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