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)
b
: mental acuteness : shrewdness
c
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

Examples of intelligence in a Sentence

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 Meter’s far from building any self-aware, smarter-than-humans artificial general intelligence, or AGI, like those AI unicorns. Alex Konrad, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 In addition, Israel remains pivotal to Jordan's stability because of the water, gas and intelligence the Israelis provide. Ruth Marks Eglash, Fox News, 13 Feb. 2024 The report indicates that Hur could have justified recommending that Biden be indicted for serious crimes (Hur found that, for years, Biden willfully mishandled classified intelligence, yet the applicable statute requires prosecutors to establish only gross negligence, a less demanding standard). The Editors, National Review, 12 Feb. 2024 In the letter, Mr. Crawford referred to information provided to the committee from whistle-blowers and intelligence community officers. Julian E. Barnes, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2024 The Section 702 program was last extended in December until April, when certifications issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court expire, ending a requirement that American companies cooperate with the intelligence community’s wiretap demands. Dell Cameron, WIRED, 12 Feb. 2024 Ukrainian military intelligence said over the weekend that Russian forces have increasingly used Starlink terminals on the front line, which Starlink denies. TIME, 12 Feb. 2024 But no year is as sought after as the dragon, associated with intelligence, confidence and ambition. Lyric Li, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2024 In 1941, Catherine Dior joined the Resistance, risking her life every day to be a part of a covert network titled F2 that gathered intelligence for the Allies during the war. Christy Piña, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

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

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 23 Feb. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on intelligence

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