in·tel·li·gent | \ in-ˈte-lə-jənt \

Definition of intelligent 

1a : having or indicating a high or satisfactory degree of intelligence and mental capacity

b : revealing or reflecting good judgment or sound thought : skillful

2a : possessing intelligence

b : guided or directed by intellect : rational

3a : guided or controlled by a computer especially : smart sense 7c — compare dumb sense 7

b : able to produce printed material from digital signals an intelligent copier

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Other words from intelligent

intelligential \in-ˌte-lə-ˈjen(t)-shəl \ adjective
intelligently \in-ˈte-lə-jənt-lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for intelligent

intelligent, clever, alert, quick-witted mean mentally keen or quick. intelligent stresses success in coping with new situations and solving problems. an intelligent person could assemble it fast clever implies native ability or aptness and sometimes suggests a lack of more substantial qualities. clever with words alert stresses quickness in perceiving and understanding. alert to new technology quick-witted implies promptness in finding answers in debate or in devising expedients in moments of danger or challenge. no match for his quick-witted opponent

intelligent, clever, and brilliant mean having a good amount of mental ability. intelligent is used of a person who can handle new situations and solve problems. We need an intelligent person to run the company. clever is used of a person who learns very quickly. The clever youngster learned the trick in a few minutes. brilliant is used of a person whose mental ability is much greater than normal. A brilliant doctor discovered the cure for that disease.

Examples of intelligent in a Sentence

She asked some intelligent questions. He's a hard worker but he's not very intelligent.

Recent Examples on the Web

Grey agrees, only to discover after the surgery that the computer chip, called Stem, is also artificially intelligent. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Upgrade is so derivative, it’s original," 14 June 2018 To me, that’s a much less threatening notion than creating an artificially intelligent being. Adam Fisher, Smithsonian, "What Will Be the Next Big Thing to Come Out of Silicon Valley?," 22 Mar. 2018 During the 1990s, the robotics industry witnessed several breakthroughs, including the first truly intelligent robots and the ability to synchronize their motion. Avi Jorisch, Newsweek, "How a Paralyzed Man Reinvented the Wheelchair to Help People Walk Again," 6 Mar. 2018 The pregnant Lip Sync Battle co-host, 32, had a surprise meeting with the popular intelligent humanoid robot on Thursday. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Pregnant Chrissy Teigen Finally Meets Sophia the Robot: 'I'm Freaking Out!'," 18 Jan. 2018 Today’s audiences are, in fact, well aware of another current dragon lady, one who is exotic, intelligent, aggressive, beautiful and a cultural phenomenon. Mike Kaplan, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Feud,' Olivia de Havilland and the "Bitch" vs. "Dragon Lady" Debate (Guest Column)," 5 May 2018 Some experts think in just 15 years time, our smartphones will be more intelligent than us. Zoltan Istvan, Newsweek, "Quantum Archaeology: The Quest to 3D Bioprint Every Dead Person Back to Life," 9 Mar. 2018 Jeremy Danner, Boulevard's ambassador brewer, had an interesting and intelligent description. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Boulevard has a new Royals-themed beer. Sam Mellinger got the first taste | The Kansas City Star," 22 Feb. 2018 The old senile Brits and the uneducated young were those who voted to leave, and those who were intelligent voted to remain. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "If America Is Divided, So Is Europe," 6 July 2018

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

circa 1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for intelligent

Latin intelligent-, intelligens, present participle of intelligere, intellegere to understand, from inter- + legere to gather, select — more at legend

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Phrases Related to intelligent

intelligent life

Statistics for intelligent

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for intelligent

The first known use of intelligent was circa 1540

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More Definitions for intelligent



English Language Learners Definition of intelligent

: having or showing the ability to easily learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations : having or showing a lot of intelligence

: able to learn and understand things

: having an ability to deal with problems or situations that resembles or suggests the ability of an intelligent person


in·tel·li·gent | \ in-ˈte-lə-jənt \

Kids Definition of intelligent

1 : having or showing serious thought and good judgment an intelligent student an intelligent decision

2 : able to learn and understand Is there intelligent life on other planets?

Other words from intelligent

intelligently adverb



Legal Definition of intelligent 

: having or indicating a high or satisfactory degree of intelligence and mental capacity especially : having or indicating an understanding of the nature and consequences of an act or decision a knowing and intelligent waiver of counsel — compare knowing

Note: Under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), a waiver of rights must be knowing and intelligent.

Other words from intelligent

intelligently adverb

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