intelligence

noun
in·​tel·​li·​gence | \ in-ˈte-lə-jən(t)s \

Definition of intelligence

1a(1) : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason also : the skilled use of reason
(2) : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests)
c : mental acuteness : shrewdness
b Christian Science : the basic eternal quality of divine Mind
b : information concerning an enemy or possible enemy or an area also : an agency engaged in obtaining such information
3 : the act of understanding : comprehension
4 : the ability to perform computer functions
5a : intelligent minds or mind cosmic intelligence
b : an intelligent entity especially : angel

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Examples of intelligence in a Sentence

She impressed us with her superior intelligence. a person of average intelligence gathering intelligence about a neighboring country's activities
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mueller’s team also charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers in July with hacking into the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Party and releasing tens of thousands of private communications. Eric Tucker, The Seattle Times, "AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s untruths on Russia probe, wall, jobs," 6 Feb. 2019 On Friday, meanwhile, that Trump-Putin summit was given a dramatic complication, when the US Justice Department announced new charges were being filed against 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking Democratic Party emails. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "How strong a Europe does US want? In Trump era, that's still the issue.," 13 July 2018 But according to criminal charges filed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller, Guccifer 2.0 was actually operated by a group of Russian military intelligence officers based in Moscow. Rosalind S. Helderman And Manuel Roig-franzia, chicagotribune.com, "Charges against Russian officers intensify spotlight on Trump adviser Stone," 13 July 2018 Flynn, a career Army intelligence officer, was fired as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "Judge again delays sentencing for Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor," 10 July 2018 The former Russian intelligence officer was convicted of spying for Britain before coming to the U.K. as part of a 2010 prisoner swap. Author: Matt Dunham, Jill Lawless, Anchorage Daily News, "Another mystery illness rocks England after spy’s poisoning," 4 July 2018 The base, which also serves as a training center for pro-government militias, is run by Afghanistan’s intelligence service known as the National Directorate for Security, or NDS. Amir Shah, The Seattle Times, "Afghan security service suffers heavy toll in Taliban attack," 22 Jan. 2019 For a military response, Clinton and Berger decided, the U.S. intelligence community would need to publicly declare that al Qaeda had been the culprit. Warren Bass, WSJ, "The Bin Laden Attack That Two Presidents Failed to Answer," 10 Jan. 2019 The intelligence community likely used round-the-clock rotations of armed drones to keep him under observation, waiting for an opportunity to strike without civilian casualties. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Militant Killed in U.S. Airstrike Was Wanted for USS Cole Bombing," 4 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intelligence.' 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 intelligence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for intelligence

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin intelligentia, from intelligent-, intelligens intelligent

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Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for intelligence

The first known use of intelligence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for intelligence

intelligence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of intelligence

: the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations
: secret information that a government collects about an enemy or possible enemy also : a government organization that collects such information

intelligence

noun
in·​tel·​li·​gence | \ in-ˈte-lə-jəns \

Kids Definition of intelligence

1 : the ability to learn and understand The test measures intelligence.
2 : secret information collected about an enemy or a possible enemy

intelligence

noun
in·​tel·​li·​gence | \ in-ˈtel-ə-jən(t)s \

Medical Definition of intelligence

1a : the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations
b : the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)
2 : mental acuteness

Other Words from intelligence

intelligent \ in-​ˈtel-​ə-​jənt \ adjective
intelligently adverb

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