intelligence

noun

in·​tel·​li·​gence in-ˈte-lə-jən(t)s How to pronounce intelligence (audio)
1
a(1)
: the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations : reason
also : the skilled use of reason
(2)
: the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests)
c
: mental acuteness : shrewdness
b
Christian Science : the basic eternal quality of divine Mind
2
b
: information concerning an enemy or possible enemy or an area
also : an agency engaged in obtaining such information
3
: the act of understanding : comprehension
4
: the ability to perform computer functions
5
a
: intelligent minds or mind
cosmic intelligence
b
: an intelligent entity
especially : angel

Example Sentences

She impressed us with her superior intelligence. a person of average intelligence gathering intelligence about a neighboring country's activities
Recent Examples on the Web The Washington chatter about whether there should be a special counsel appointed to probe former vice president Mike Pence’s unlawful retention of classified intelligence is understandable. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 25 Jan. 2023 If the documents contain information on military capabilities or methods and sources of intelligence, does anyone think that Mr. Biden was in the field collecting and then classifying such secrets? James Freeman, WSJ, 24 Jan. 2023 His heart, which was believed to be a person’s center of intelligence and being, remained in tact, but the rest of the organs had been removed through an incision and the brain was removed through the nose and replaced with resin. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 24 Jan. 2023 In the case of LockBit, Jérôme Segura, senior director of threat intelligence at Malwarebytes, says the affiliate model is flipped on its head. WIRED, 24 Jan. 2023 Their creators and advocates cast them as capable of tackling every form of human intelligence—as everything generators. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 13 Jan. 2023 Scott Stewart, vice president of intelligence at TorchStone Global, a security advisory firm, said cartel leaders enjoy living in upscale locales, even outside their territory. Dallas News, 12 Jan. 2023 Grenell, who also served as the acting director of national intelligence (DNI) during the Trump administration, compelled a reluctant Germany to sanction Iran’s alleged terrorist airline Mahan Air. Fox News, 11 Jan. 2023 Democrats made a similar request of the director of national intelligence in August following the search of Mar-a-Lago. Zeke Miller, Chicago Tribune, 11 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin intelligentia, from intelligent-, intelligens intelligent

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of intelligence was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near intelligence

Cite this Entry

“Intelligence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intelligence. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

intelligence

noun
in·​tel·​li·​gence in-ˈtel-ə-jən(t)s How to pronounce intelligence (audio)
1
: the ability to learn and understand or to deal with problems : reason
2
b
: information concerning an enemy or possible enemy
also : an agency engaged in obtaining such information

Medical Definition

intelligence

noun
in·​tel·​li·​gence in-ˈtel-ə-jən(t)s How to pronounce intelligence (audio)
1
a
: the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations
b
: the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)
2
: mental acuteness
intelligent adjective
intelligently adverb

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