in·​tel·​lect | \ ˈin-tə-ˌlekt How to pronounce intellect (audio) \

Definition of intellect

1a : the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge
b : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought especially when highly developed
2 : a person with great intellectual powers

Examples of intellect in a Sentence

She is a woman of superior intellect. She has a sharp intellect. We were required to read a book every week in order to develop our intellects. music that appeals to the intellect while still satisfying the emotions
Recent Examples on the Web By the age of thirteen, struggling with his racing intellect, Wong began to express suicidal thoughts, and he was diagnosed as having depression. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 Still, Parks was remembered Sunday as a dogged reporter with a keen intellect and a mentor and advisor to many younger journalists. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan. 2022 Someone with your sharp intellect could thrive in a position that requires you to develop innovative solutions to problems, while dull routines and restrictive rules might dull your natural vivacity. Tarot Astrologers,, 29 Nov. 2021 Johnson meshes intellect and excitement in a way no other broadcaster has ever done. Mike Freeman, USA TODAY, 25 May 2022 His generosity, intellect and wit will forever be remembered. Natasha Dado,, 9 Mar. 2022 With war raging in Europe after 70+ years of peace, this International Women’s Day is a time to acknowledge the courage, intellect and grit of the array of extraordinary women in key roles every aspect of this conflict. Joan Michelson, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 Following the initial treatment protocols, their daughter’s end-state became zombie-like, with intellect and personality severely blunted by antipsychotic medicine. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Feb. 2022 Others described her as someone who impressed them with her confidence, sharp intellect and keen listening and problem-solving skills. New York Times, 15 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intellect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of intellect

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for intellect

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin intellectus, from intellegere to understand — more at intelligent

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The first known use of intellect was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intellect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for intellect


in·​tel·​lect | \ ˈin-tə-ˌlekt How to pronounce intellect (audio) \

Kids Definition of intellect

1 : the ability to think and understand She has a superior intellect.
2 : a person with great powers of thinking and reasoning


in·​tel·​lect | \ ˈint-ᵊl-ˌekt How to pronounce intellect (audio) \

Medical Definition of intellect

1 : the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will : the capacity for knowledge
2 : the capacity for rational or intelligent thought

Other Words from intellect

intellectual \ ˌint-​ᵊl-​ˈek-​ch(ə-​w)əl, -​ˈeksh-​wəl How to pronounce intellect (audio) \ adjective
intellectually adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on intellect

Nglish: Translation of intellect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intellect for Arabic Speakers


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