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 intellectual (audio) \ noun
intellectually \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wə-​lē How to pronounce intellectual (audio) , -​chə-​lē , -​shwə-​lē , -​chü(-​ə)-​lē \ adverb
intellectualness \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wəl-​nəs How to pronounce intellectual (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 Republicans continued to say the change prioritizes older people, not those who are younger but may be Deaf, have intellectual disabilities or other factors weighed by the state. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Senate GOP passes COVID-19 funding bills, including one Democrats call 'racist bulls--t'," 26 Feb. 2021 But the real action is intellectual, as Marat and Sade debate the nature of revolution. Adam Kirsch, The New York Review of Books, "The People’s Novel," 5 Jan. 2021 Special Olympics Oregon offers year-round sports training, competition and camaraderie to those with intellectual disabilities. The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "What it’s meant to local nonprofits to be part of the 2020 Season of Sharing campaign," 25 Dec. 2020 Recycled beads help make Mardi Gras more eco-friendly while also helping support ArcGNO and its mission to promote the independence and well-being of people with intellectual disabilities. Staff Report, NOLA.com, "Mount Carmel Academy sorts recycled Mardi Gras beads for the Arc of Greater New Orleans," 16 Dec. 2020 Ervin said his organization is lobbying health officials in both states to make people with intellectual disabilities a priority for vaccination. Washington Post, "D.C. region rolls out coronavirus vaccines amid push to reach priority groups," 14 Dec. 2020 Residents and staff at nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, Ohio’s veterans homes, psychiatric hospitals, and people with intellectual disabilities and those living with mental illness in group homes, and their staff. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Health care workers, EMS and group facilities to receive first shipments of coronavirus in December, DeWine says," 4 Dec. 2020 All of this matters little to Trump, who offsets his lack of policy knowledge and lack of intellectual curiosity with sheer bravado. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Has an American President Ever Been Worse at Politics?," 28 Dec. 2020 Another goal: training providers, family members and others on how to recognize signs of abuse among people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Amy Silverman For Arizona Daily Star, ProPublica, "After a Violent Crime, Arizona Promised Reforms for People With Developmental Disabilities. It Has Yet to Deliver.," 28 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Le Bon, a French intellectual and writer, was not yet 7 during the 1848 rebellion in Paris and most likely was not a witness to its bloodiest days. New York Times, "Making Sense of the ‘Mob’ Mentality," 12 Jan. 2021 Dallis Wolfe was the youngest of three brothers and was, by all accounts, an intellectual. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Suspect in killing of Alabama A&M student captured by U.S. Marshals at Vestavia Hills hotel," 21 Jan. 2021 Le Bon, a French intellectual, was not yet 7 during the 1848 rebellion in Paris. Star Tribune, "Making sense of the 'mob' mentality," 14 Jan. 2021 One morning before sunrise, a Times reporter evaded the minders and entered the home of a prominent Uighur intellectual. Los Angeles Times, "‘Will they let us live?’ Inside Xinjiang, survivors of China’s internment camps speak," 17 Dec. 2020 The Chopin-playing Dutch intellectual, then 31, had written a book denouncing the EU. The Economist, "Thierry Baudet, a populist prodigy, blows up the party he created," 5 Dec. 2020 As a public intellectual, Mr. Williams moved easily between the classroom and public forums that gave him wide reach. New York Times, "Walter E. Williams, 84, Dies; Conservative Economist on Black Issues," 4 Dec. 2020 Scott was an intellectual, who had studied philosophy, including over in Oxford. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "‘Conservative’: A Term Up for Grabs," 18 Nov. 2020 His large glasses and thick mustache made the professor look more like a kindly retiree than the towering intellectual whom friends had raved about. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Remembering Juan Gómez Quiñones, Chicano studies legend and professor to all of L.A.," 17 Nov. 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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intellectual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intellectual. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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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