in·​tel·​li·​gent·​sia in-ˌte-lə-ˈjen(t)-sē-ə How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio) -ˈgen(t)- How to pronounce intelligentsia (audio)
: intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite

Example Sentences

a presidential candidate who was the darling of the intelligentsia—and very few others
Recent Examples on the Web McCarthy’s implication — recently shared by other conservatives and Republicans — has drawn sharp criticism from much of the foreign-policy intelligentsia. Austin Dahmer, National Review, 17 Nov. 2022 In post-Putin Russia, there will be no popular demand for democratic reforms and no intelligentsia to promote them. WSJ, 4 Nov. 2022 Her paintings of everyday life among Manhattan’s intelligentsia from the Teens through the early 1940s are delightful and pungent. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 12 May 2022 Founded the previous year by Harold Ross, its first editor, and his wife, Jane Grant, the magazine was beginning to arouse the curiosity of Manhattan’s intelligentsia, but still struggled to break through. Joe Pompeo, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2022 The conservative movement now has a legal intelligentsia of academics, writers, and national advocacy groups who fundamentally shaped how Roe was overturned. Emma Green, The New Yorker, 24 July 2022 At the same time, Ukrainian intelligentsia called for shaking off Russian imperial embrace in culture. Daria Mattingly, CNN, 29 June 2022 The book, centering on a Mexican literary critic who suspects that his translator wife is having an affair with an American novelist, offers a window on the social and intellectual world of a privileged Mexico City intelligentsia. New York Times, 31 May 2022 Her first book was her PhD thesis, which focused on Hindi writer Munshi Premchand and his role in the formation of the nationalist intelligentsia of the 20th century. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, 27 May 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Russian intelligentsiya, from Latin intelligentia intelligence

First Known Use

1905, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intelligentsia was in 1905

Dictionary Entries Near intelligentsia

Cite this Entry

“Intelligentsia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: intellectuals as a group : educated people

More from Merriam-Webster on intelligentsia

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.