intelligent

adjective
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

Many intelligent people, looking at the same footage, walked away from it with very different conclusions. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The fake video era of US politics has arrived on Twitter," 9 Nov. 2018 There’s undoubtedly a large number of very intelligent people working on the problem. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "One investing firm is behind a string of this year’s big money-making moments in Silicon Valley," 5 Aug. 2018 Natural swimmers and highly intelligent, dolphins can search an area for mines much faster than humans, and are smart enough to recognize mines. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Navy Dolphins Hunt Mines During RIMPAC Exercise," 31 July 2018 These are, for the most part, highly intelligent people who, to some degree, thought that their savvy would set themselves apart from their neighbors. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Eliza Griswold's 'Amity and Prosperity': Fracking, profit, and human costs in western Pa.," 28 June 2018 But there is nothing in his performance that helps us understand why an intelligent young woman would run off with him. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Poor Mary Shelley!," 23 May 2018 The first is that educationists are using a broader range of methods to identify highly intelligent children, especially those from poor households. The Economist, "How and why to search for young Einsteins," 22 Mar. 2018 Reid is a fast, physical, highly intelligent free safety with the versatility to move around in the defensive backfield. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Hectic free agency week? It just sets up draft for Carolina Panthers. Here’s how. | Charlotte Observer," 16 Mar. 2018 Human beings are, ultimately, just highly intelligent apes. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Republicans Are Putting Political Correctness Above Public Safety," 15 Feb. 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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Last Updated

14 Nov 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

intelligent

adjective

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

intelligent

adjective
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

intelligent

adjective
in·​tel·​li·​gent

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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