in·​tel·​lec·​tu·​al·​ize ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wə-ˌlīz How to pronounce intellectualize (audio)
intellectualized; intellectualizing

transitive verb

: to give rational form or content to
ˌin-tə-ˌlek-chə-wə-lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce intellectualize (audio)
ˌin-tə-ˈlek-chə-wə-ˌlī-zər How to pronounce intellectualize (audio)

Examples of intellectualize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The source coding practice is best for people who overthink and intellectualize problems instead of finding a solution. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 18 July 2023 That somatic return is a common theme in trauma psychology, which suggests that lasting stressors will lead people to intellectualize and lose touch with physicality. Courtney Tenz, Washington Post, 29 June 2023 To critics, these are sham attempts to intellectualize an approach that has all the subtlety of self-immolation (which, incidentally, is how his character dies in Between Worlds, while smoking a cigarette, no less). Dan Piepenbring, Harper’s Magazine , 18 Jan. 2022 It’s been scarily easy, over the past year, to wriggle out of remembrances, to intellectualize and downplay my grief, to distract myself with a million more pertinent news stories. Steven Blum, Wired, 25 Aug. 2021 There’s no need to always over-intellectualize things. Vulture, 17 Feb. 2022 To over intellectualize the outburst would be futile, because that’s just Doja. Marjon Carlos, ELLE, 25 May 2022 That, for me, is the most exciting part of it—to see live music, this thing that’s at times anti-intellectual in its presentation, given space to intellectualize. Sadie Dupuis, SPIN, 21 Apr. 2022 In the Mood for Love and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film was geared in part toward cinephiles, yet those same cinephiles could be counted on to intellectualize the movie’s components and predict its next moves. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intellectualize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1792, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intellectualize was circa 1792

Dictionary Entries Near intellectualize

Cite this Entry

“Intellectualize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants or chiefly British intellectualise
intellectualized or chiefly British intellectualised; intellectualizing or chiefly British intellectualising
: to give rational form or content to
: to avoid conscious recognition of the emotional basis of (an act or feeling) by substituting a superficially plausible explanation
conflicts that are intellectualizedL. E. Hinsie
intellectualization noun
or chiefly British intellectualisation
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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