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 Think of the way Beth Grant has honed the suburban busybody to its sharpest points, or how, with just one sigh, Michael Stuhlbarg serves up the foibles of the intelligentsia on a silver platter. Nate Jones, Vulture, "The 32 Greatest Character Actors Working Today," 21 Nov. 2020 The world — but especially an intelligentsia that still held tightly to the culture’s steering wheel — received the message unambivalently. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, "Why My Teenage Self Gave Woody Allen a Pass," 5 Mar. 2021 Ferlinghetti was a veteran both of D-Day, in World War II, and of the left-wing intelligentsia that arose after the war. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and founder of City Lights, dead at 101," 23 Feb. 2021 Lebedev was born into Moscow’s intelligentsia in 1980, a decade before the fall of the Soviet Union. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, "The Dizzying Social Rise of Russian Scion Evgeny Lebedev," 21 Feb. 2021 He was born in 1932, into the Moscow intelligentsia. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Drenching Richness of Andrei Tarkovsky," 8 Feb. 2021 Waldhaus Sils-Maria Opened in 1908 just outside St. Moritz, this grand pile has hosted any number of renowned intelligentsia, from Nietzsche to David Bowie. Adam H. Graham, WSJ, "A Swiss Alps Hotel Frozen in Time," 10 Dec. 2020 Nothing from what was arguably the most consequential intellectual movement of ideas in history, the German intelligentsia’s emigration to the United States after the rise of Nazism in their country. Ariel Dorfman, The New York Review of Books, "Songs of Loss and Reinvention," 17 Nov. 2020 The economic intelligentsia is warning that the recovery will run out of steam without another multi-trillion-dollar relief package, but then why are states that received more government largesse this spring doing so much worse economically? The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Congress’s Covid Income Redistribution," 28 Sep. 2020

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

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The first known use of intelligentsia was in 1905

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Statistics for intelligentsia

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intelligentsia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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