in·​tel·​li·​gent·​sia | \ in-ˌte-lə-ˈjen(t)-sē-ə How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio) , -ˈgen(t)- How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio) \

Definition of intelligentsia

: intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite

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Synonyms for intelligentsia


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Examples of intelligentsia in a Sentence

a presidential candidate who was the darling of the intelligentsia—and very few others
Recent Examples on the Web Isn’t that general consensus among the Twitter intelligentsia? Joseph Goodman |, al, "Alabama player’s struggles reveal dark side of sports," 15 Nov. 2019 At Via Santa Chiara 10h, Libreria Tàmú is a firm favorite of the intelligentsia crowd. Sophia Seymour, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Six-Stop Shopping Guide to Naples," 9 Sep. 2019 But for the past several months, Drag Queen Story Hour has ripped apart the conservative intelligentsia like no subject since the nomination and election of Donald Trump. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Right Wing’s Cultural Civil War Is a Drag," 9 Sep. 2019 To the intelligentsia, Gladwell’s an oversimplifier on his very best day; on his worst, a conspiracy-theorizing spinner of mass delusion. Wired, "The Lovability of Malcolm Gladwell: A Gladwellian Analysis," 9 Sep. 2019 But what about Eileen’s younger customers, a small but devoted cadre of Gen-X and millennial women who, yes, aspire to the intelligentsia but for whom economic precarity has made that work increasingly inaccessible? Bridget Read, Vogue, "In the Future, We’ll All Be Wearing Eileen Fisher," 29 May 2019 That's it, and that's daunting to golf intelligentsia. Chuck Culpepper,, "Tiger Woods is still getting over the Masters, 93 days later," 16 July 2019 There is no such thing as a perfect revolutionary; those who criticize her are quick to note that Goldman was willing to engage with liberals, progressives, and trade unionists as well as the intelligentsia in ways that many of her comrades scorned. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Emma Goldman, One of History’s Best-Known Anarchists, Was Born 150 Years Ago," 27 June 2019 San Francisco’s cultural intelligentsia fired back. Gary Kamiya,, "When a red-hunting Congress took on SF murals — and lost," 14 June 2019

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

1905, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for intelligentsia

Russian intelligentsiya, from Latin intelligentia intelligence

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Time Traveler for intelligentsia

Time Traveler

The first known use of intelligentsia was in 1905

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Statistics for intelligentsia

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Intelligentsia.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for intelligentsia


How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio) How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intelligentsia

: a group of intelligent and well-educated people who guide or try to guide the political, artistic, or social development of their society

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Comments on intelligentsia

What made you want to look up intelligentsia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to constrict the range or activity of

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