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 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 Its triumvirate of historically Black colleges – Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta – seeds the country with Black intelligentsia. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why even ‘the Atlanta way’ faces a reckoning on policing," 25 June 2020 An intellectual cannot turn a blind eye when a nation dies after the surrender of its elite (especially since there are only two kinds of elites, the elites of the people and the intelligentsia). Madison Mainwaring, Harper's Magazine, "Survive and Advance," 25 May 2020 Here's the official logline for next Sunday's hour: When members of Gotham's intelligentsia begin disappearing, Commander Kane (Dougray Scott), Sophie (Meagan Tandy), and the Crows go searching for the newest homicidal threat to the city. Chancellor Agard,, "Batwoman finally reveals major Batman villain in first look photos," 4 May 2020 In May 1941, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, along with several dozen other members of the European intelligentsia in exile, gathered in a Santa Monica living room for a belated celebration of Heinrich’s seventieth birthday. Ruth Franklin, Harper's magazine, "Salka the Salonnière," 6 Jan. 2020 Among the English intelligentsia of the 1920s, his opinion had peculiar and decisive authority. Richard Davenport-hines, WSJ, "‘Frank Ramsey’ Review: The Most Genial Genius," 27 Mar. 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

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intelligentsia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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