Definition of intellectual in English:



  • 1Relating to the intellect.

    ‘children need intellectual stimulation’
    • ‘There were contests that tested the intellectual abilities of students.’
    • ‘Children affected with cerebral palsy generally have basic intellectual ability.’
    • ‘Steele stressed that the task did not measure a person's level of intellectual ability.’
    • ‘There is no question that she has the intellectual ability to succeed in whatever program she chooses.’
    • ‘So farmers are aware that the animals that they are keeping have a significant intellectual ability.’
    • ‘She was a lady of generosity, love and friendship and of great intellectual ability and laity.’
    • ‘We have got to probe her intellectual ability to deal with these issues.’
    • ‘Looking back I think it's obvious they felt threatened and felt a need to denigrate my intellectual ability.’
    • ‘She explained these as exercise, nourishment and intellectual stimulation.’
    • ‘Any more, and the stimulation of intellectual life will magnify the bonds of social life.’
    • ‘It is great having the planning time and the intellectual stimulation of adults and colleagues.’
    • ‘I fear I failed to provide the requisite intellectual stimulation and he moved on.’
    • ‘It builds up both the physical and intellectual abilities of those practising it.’
    • ‘This global health focus offered academics intellectual stimulation and prestige.’
    • ‘Your intellectual ability is tempered with sympathetic feelings.’
    • ‘A rare breed in comedy - intellectual rigour and the ability to crack hilarious jokes.’
    • ‘In some cases the mother may also be limited in terms of intellectual ability and emotional capacity.’
    • ‘In his own time he also visited other blogs, to pinch ideas for intellectual stimulation, and to attract return visitors.’
    • ‘Such was his intellectual ability that he was able to skip lectures to go climbing yet still graduate with flying colours.’
    • ‘This clearly represents the limit of her intellectual abilities.’
    mental, cerebral, cognitive
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    1. 1.1Appealing to or requiring use of the intellect.
      ‘the film wasn't very intellectual, but it caught the mood of the times’
      • ‘These pursuits require mental acuteness, intellectual agility and detailed analysis.’
      • ‘That's probably the most intellectual letter we've had for a while.’
      • ‘The level of knowledge, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity was truly inspiring.’
      • ‘In its ambition, its intellectual vigour and its knowledge, it more than justifies its place on any bookshelf.’
      • ‘The Renaissance in Europe was a remarkable period of artistic, cultural, and intellectual activity.’
      • ‘Finally, a fabulous essay that requires more intellectual energy to understand than I have today.’
      • ‘Feminism has to stop being seen purely as an intellectual pursuit for the educated elite and has to start being about real women and real lives.’
      • ‘I can see the intellectual appeal of it as an exploration of endurance, but three things get in the way of full appreciation.’
      • ‘To flourish, to make a success of life, requires engagement in intellectual pursuits.’
      • ‘This requires hard work, intellectual effort, and the maturity to live with differing points of view.’
      • ‘Perhaps all that stands in the balance here is a highbrow intellectual debate.’
      • ‘Once again, however, despite its intellectual appeal, this scenario still has a number of problems.’
      • ‘There isn't the vibrant intellectual culture that is needed to support a good arts scene.’
      • ‘To say more would require something of an intellectual or stylistic mandate which Lanchester conspicuously does not have.’
      • ‘But, in the end, it is a production in which raw passion is always subservient to intellectual cleverness.’
      • ‘The failure of love punctuates much of the intellectual cleverness of Farrell's works.’
      • ‘All of those things require a degree of intellectual effort.’
    2. 1.2Possessing a highly developed intellect.
      ‘you are an intellectual girl, like your mother’
      • ‘If Turkey really wants to be European, an intellectual elite that can make itself heard will have to develop.’
      intelligent, clever, academic, well educated, well read, widely read, erudite, cerebral, learned, knowledgeable, literary, bookish, donnish, highbrow, scholarly, studious, cultured, cultivated, civilized, enlightened, sophisticated
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  • A person possessing a highly developed intellect.

    ‘a prominent political thinker and intellectual’
    • ‘The intellectuals were persecuted for 40 years and now they are marginalised.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that she believes in a secular government and she is backed and advised by a group of secular intellectuals.’
    • ‘Recently, a group of Iranian intellectuals also reacted to the issue and signed a petition.’
    • ‘At the same time, a growing professionalism reduced the role of intellectuals as public sages.’
    • ‘I don't think by any means it's something to be done by star intellectuals or people from the top.’
    • ‘Are intellectuals and scholars always expected to find faults of their own people?’
    • ‘Optimism of the will is all very well for imprisoned intellectuals, but Scotland could do with a little realism.’
    • ‘Academics are interested in ideas, whereas intellectuals seek to bring ideas to an entire culture.’
    • ‘The book is in essence the life story of a mild-mannered and cultured intellectual living under communism.’
    • ‘Yet there is an important distinction between government by the intelligent and by intellectuals.’
    • ‘For the most part, the intellectuals were projecting their own sordid chauvinism on to the working class.’
    • ‘It's largely down to him that even quite foolish Frenchmen harbour the belief that they are intellectuals.’
    • ‘This offered a platform for a large number of intellectuals and thinkers urging enlightened progress.’
    • ‘On my first trip to the pub I am reminded how half a dozen pints can reduce dazzling intellectuals to burbling halfwits.’
    • ‘It has to do with the intelligence of our opponents, the warmongering intellectuals.’
    • ‘Yet still our poverty activists and intellectuals insist that poverty is getting worse.’
    • ‘It was written by a group of Arab intellectuals and experts with known concern for the Arab world.’
    • ‘What Leftist intellectuals and agitators say is not what ordinary Leftists say.’
    • ‘The intellectuals could not prevent the masses from learning to read.’
    • ‘They get the latest books, we get to understand the latest thinking of these intellectuals.’
    intelligent person, learned person, highbrow, academic, bookworm, bookish person, man of letters, woman of letters, bluestocking, thinker, brain, scholar, sage
    genius, einstein, polymath, expert, prodigy, gifted child
    egghead, brains, bright spark, whizz, wizard, walking encyclopedia
    brainbox, clever clogs, boffin
    brainiac, rocket scientist, maven, brahmin, pointy-head
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Late Middle English: from Latin intellectualis, from intellectus understanding, from intellegere understand (see intelligent).