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 intelligential (audio) \ adjective
intelligently \ in-​ˈte-​lə-​jənt-​lē How to pronounce intelligently (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 His protagonists tend to be wild, intelligent charmers in the grip of a singular preoccupation. Charles Baxter, Harper's Magazine, "Fun with Problems," 30 Mar. 2020 Even if Fauci occasionally chided Curry for his asking multiple questions at once, Fauci often complimented Curry for his intelligent inquiries. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Stephen Curry’s coronavirus interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci is most significant move of his career," 26 Mar. 2020 At a recent meeting of the new Society for the Protection of Children, Dr. Rochard stated that 250,000 infants die yearly, of whom at least 100,000 could be saved by intelligent care. Scientific American, "Giving Babies Solid Food Is Illegal in France," 23 Mar. 2020 Two other intelligent rendering capabilities make your GPU work smarter, not harder, supercharging the performance potential of your graphics card (or Xbox) if developers wind up embracing them. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "DirectX 12 Ultimate unifies ray tracing, speed-boosting graphics tricks across PCs and Xbox," 20 Mar. 2020 Amid the humanitarian and economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, an intelligent policy response can save lives and livelihoods. Jon Hartley, National Review, "Deregulate to Help the Private Sector Fight Coronavirus," 20 Mar. 2020 The company’s intelligent tires have a more advanced sensor to track dozens more measurements such as tire wear, inflation and road-surface conditions. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "The Humble Tire Gets Kitted Out With Technology," 19 Mar. 2020 In a new study led by Bastos and colleague Alex Taylor, keas, one of New Zealand’s most intelligent parrot species, were able to act on their sense of probability to get a treat. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Kea parrots use statistics to get what they want," 5 Mar. 2020 Proper pronunciation and grammar have their place but not at the expense of emotionally intelligent communication skills. Kacy Vega, Quartz at Work, "Before pouncing on mispronouncing by your colleagues, read this," 4 Mar. 2020

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

3 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intelligent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for intelligent


How to pronounce intelligent (audio)

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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