Thesaurus

intelligent

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of intelligent

1 having or showing quickness of mind
  • proud parents typically insist that their child is intelligent way beyond his or her years
  • his intelligent response to the emergency averted a disaster

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2 having the ability to reason
  • there is some debate over whether dolphins are intelligent animals

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3 having or showing good judgment and restraint especially in conduct or speech
  • the only intelligent response to such a tasteless joke is to quickly change the subject

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Frequently Asked Questions About intelligent

How is the word intelligent distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of intelligent are alert, clever, and quick-witted. While all these words mean "mentally keen or quick," intelligent stresses success in coping with new situations and solving problems.

an intelligent person could assemble it fast

When is alert a more appropriate choice than intelligent?

While in some cases nearly identical to intelligent, alert stresses quickness in perceiving and understanding.

alert to new technology

When would clever be a good substitute for intelligent?

Although the words clever and intelligent have much in common, clever implies native ability or aptness and sometimes suggests a lack of more substantial qualities.

clever with words

When might quick-witted be a better fit than intelligent?

The words quick-witted and intelligent are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

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Time Traveler for intelligent

Time Traveler

The first known use of intelligent was circa 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Intelligent.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/intelligent. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on intelligent

Dictionary: Definition of intelligent

Nglish: Translation of intelligent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intelligent for Arabic Speakers

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