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

Group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oregon are licensed by the state but assigned at the county level through case managers. oregonlive.com, "$4.5 million lawsuit alleges abuse of developmentally disabled man at state-licensed group home," 11 Aug. 2019 The Arc of Colorado has 14 chapters across the state that provide services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Arc Thrift Stores’ economic impact in Colorado is huge — to the tune of $2.3 billion since 2005 — a DU study shows," 31 July 2019 Sadly, many students with intellectual and developmental disabilities are never given the opportunity to fulfill their dream of going to college. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Texas A&M Launches Texas’ First 4-Year College Program for Students with Disabilities," 19 July 2019 All proceeds benefit programs and services Favarh provides for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. courant.com, "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 15 July 2019 BCR A Place to Grow will be allocated $12,068 for its transportation program, which will help transport 83 children and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Anthony Clark Carpio, latimes.com, "Burbank allocates federal funds to several nonprofits," 20 June 2019 Boris Johnson, her all-but-certain successor, is no more of an intellectual despite his ability to quote Latin tags. The Economist, "On Britain beyond Brexit and the future of Conservatism," 18 June 2019 Throughout Stuber, Bautista's physical presence easily plays off Nanjiani's deadpan, self-deprecating, and intellectual comedy stylings. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Stuber review: The world’s worst Uber ride becomes pure popcorn comedy," 12 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Though the area eventually fell into ruin, Colonia Juárez was revived when artists and intellectuals moved in during the 1960s, laying the groundwork for today’s evolution. Michaela Trimble, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to Colonia Juárez, Mexico City’s Hottest Neighborhood," 3 July 2019 This year Tokarczuk was a guest curator, organizing a weeklong series of symposiums featuring leading Polish writers and intellectuals. Ruth Franklin, The New Yorker, "Olga Tokarczuk’s Novels Against Nationalism," 29 July 2019 Only a civilization addicted to frivolity and hectored by self-hating intellectuals — that is, ours — could have let the giant step go unfollowed so long or think so fleetingly of it now. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 25 July 2019 Artists, ballerinas and intellectuals toasted the greatness of Imperial Russia under the crystal chandeliers. Washington Post, "Moscow’s Metropol: elegance to revolution and back again," 23 July 2019 This kind of back and forth seems to be everywhere, from intellectuals arguing in books and essays to the general public arguing on social media. Keith Payne, Scientific American, "The Truth about Anti-White Discrimination," 18 July 2019 Kuwait is the most open of the Gulf states, with a raucous parliament and vibrant print media; all the same, last year Kuwaiti intellectuals started leaking memos from the information ministry, which make for darkly funny reading. The Economist, "The unlikely rise of book fairs in the Gulf," 4 July 2019 Transience defines the book’s rudderless young black intellectuals as well. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: The Great Migration North," 28 June 2019 Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer and intellectual who authored an in-depth feature on reparations in 2014 and spoke at the hearing, questioned McConnell’s statement. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Watch Ta-Nehisi Coates school Mitch McConnell on American history," 19 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

14 Aug 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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