in·​tel·​li·​gent | \ in-ˈte-lə-jənt How to pronounce intelligent (audio) \

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 How to pronounce intelligent (audio) \ adjective
intelligently \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jənt-​lē How to pronounce intelligent (audio) \ 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

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 This squad consists of Hunter, the leader who has Rambo-like hair and heightened tracking senses, Wrecker, who has enormous size and strength, Tech, who is highly intelligent and a technology whiz, and Crosshair, who has exceptional marksman skills. Lauren Morgan,, "Everything you need to know from Star Wars: The Clone Wars before watching The Bad Batch," 30 Apr. 2021 The Finnish industrial firm Wärtsilä is a leader in advanced energy technology that integrates energy solutions to support resilient, intelligent and flexible energy infrastructure. Erik Kobayashi-solomon, Forbes, "Transitioning To A Smarter Grid: Wärtsilä," 21 Apr. 2021 Luger appears to be a very intelligent and on-point individual who is committed to protecting our citizens and immigrants who do not have citizenship. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Andy Luger and the U.S. attorney general search, mental health, ethanol and boating," 19 Mar. 2021 Deborah describes her son as an intelligent and kind young man who is dearly missed by his family, including his three younger siblings. NBC News, "Family holds onto hope for safe return of UC Santa Cruz student Dane Elkins months after his disappearance," 21 Dec. 2020 The program also benefits from intelligent camera-work. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra spins wonder, delight with eclectic “Musical Magicians” program," 23 Apr. 2021 Government investment is also expected to contribute to more intelligent devices on farms, analysts say. Washington Post, "Farmers have more mouths to feed. Bring in the robots.," 22 Apr. 2021 Business schools teach you the importance of planning, strategizing, making intelligent choices and investing your money the right way. Vahe Tirakyan, Forbes, "Ten Things You Can’t Learn In Business School," 21 Apr. 2021 The intelligent function automatically stops the motor after 20 seconds while the LED lights automatically shut off after 30 seconds. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Motorized Tie Rack," 21 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for intelligent

Time Traveler

The first known use of intelligent was circa 1540

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Statistics for intelligent

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intelligent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce intelligent (audio) \

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

Choose the Right Synonym for intelligent

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.



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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Comments on intelligent

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