in·​tel·​li·​gent·​sia in-ˌte-lə-ˈjen(t)-sē-ə How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio) -ˈgen(t)- How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio)
: intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite

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 How such a basic concept eludes the intelligentsia over here is beyond me. Philip Klein, National Review, 8 Dec. 2023 Even the secular intelligentsia banded with the ayatollah, dismissing the protests and the blatant anti-Semitic and anti-feminist character of the new leadership as a few minor quirks upon which the great revolution could not afford to dwell. Roya Hakakian, The Atlantic, 22 Nov. 2023 As a member of São Paulo’s European intelligentsia, Zalszupin isn’t an obvious figure to draw into such debates, yet he was always defined by dualities: his twin pursuits of ease and restraint, his fascination with industry and love of craft. Michael Snyder Ana Topoleanu, New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023 His decision to emigrate underlined the choices available to the Czech intelligentsia at the time. Daniel Lewis, New York Times, 12 July 2023 Not that there’s a great intelligentsia in this country. Jean Guerrero, Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2023 Kahn, who wrote the script with Nathalie Hertzberg, was inspired to make the movie after reading the defendant’s autobiography, Obscure Memories of a Polish Jew Born in France, which Goldman penned in prison and which turned him into a hero among the intelligentsia. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 May 2023 These are people who were the potential liberal forces and intelligentsia of not only Moscow but many other places. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2023 In his late teens, Collodi went to work at a respected bookstore in Florence and began to mix with the intelligentsia. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'intelligentsia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Russian intelligentsiya, from Latin intelligentia intelligence

First Known Use

1905, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intelligentsia was in 1905

Dictionary Entries Near intelligentsia

Cite this Entry

“Intelligentsia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: intellectuals as a group : educated people

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