Definition of intelligence in English:



mass noun
  • 1The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.

    ‘an eminent man of great intelligence’
    • ‘Blogging's comparative advantage has nothing to do with the alleged superior skills of bloggers or their higher intelligence, quicker wit, or more fabulous physiques.’
    • ‘He points out that where such extreme early deprivation is followed by nurturant care there is some improvement in speech, intelligence and social skills.’
    • ‘The serpents' wisdom quoted here means shrewd intelligence with perfect knowledge of the position under which one is placed.’
    • ‘I'm absolutely convinced Sutton's ability, intelligence and experience mean he offers the England squad something they have not got.’
    • ‘Who of them had really considered the thought that mankind with all its technical knowledge and intelligence would lose against the simple powers of nature?’
    • ‘For one thing, computers are a pretty intelligent lot, if the measure of intelligence is the ability to absorb, process and recall vast amounts of information.’
    • ‘But it has mainly been studied in particular patients with profound impairments of memory, despite otherwise normal cognitive ability and intelligence.’
    • ‘Now is the time to apply your skills and intelligence to material affairs, and sow the seed that can be reaped at a later date.’
    • ‘Given the talent, intelligence, and skill possessed by Indians, why was their country still weak, still on the margins of international affairs?’
    • ‘He is good company, a man of great intelligence and broad knowledge, good humour and acerbic wit.’
    • ‘And you talk about five qualities to be successful: integrity, industry, intelligence, knowledge and courage.’
    • ‘What about emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and listen to yourself and others?’
    • ‘Sense of self, physical abilities, ability to interact with others, communication skills and intelligence begin to develop from the age of three.’
    • ‘The reasoning tests assess qualities such as aptitude, cognitive skill, ability, and intelligence.’
    • ‘They address each other by first names, a sign not just of unusual intimacy, but of equality - her intelligence and managerial skills more than compensating for his higher social status.’
    • ‘The authors will all be invited to write for the series because they don't underestimate readers' intelligence nor overestimate their knowledge.’
    • ‘The fear of other people's intelligence and ability applied to the production of goods we consume is not only profoundly wrong but also extremely dangerous.’
    • ‘This doesn't mean men can't do it, it just proves that kneading calls for no special skills, intelligence or ability.’
    • ‘An office boy will not be what he is now if he had education, skills, common sense and intelligence like his boss.’
    • ‘At 25, her success has been formidable, but she is oddly unhelpful about applying her reputed intelligence to an understanding of it.’
    intellectual capacity, mental capacity, intellect, mind, brain, brains, brainpower, powers of reasoning, judgement, reason, reasoning, understanding, comprehension, acumen, wit, sense, insight, perceptiveness, perception, perspicaciousness, perspicacity, penetration, discernment, sharpness, quickness of mind, quick-wittedness, smartness, canniness, astuteness, intuition, acuity, alertness, cleverness, brilliance, aptness, ability, giftedness, talent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A person or being with the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
      ‘extraterrestrial intelligences’
      • ‘Who knows what intelligences, human or artificial, will in some distant future study these scraps?’
      • ‘‘I don't trust intelligent machines or artificial intelligences,’ Kate finally conceded reluctantly.’
      • ‘Apart from being a tourist attraction, the robot circus at it will amount to the biggest experiment ever in survivalist learning for artificial intelligences.’
      • ‘At least with extraterrestrial intelligences we can guess what might have happened.’
      • ‘A professor in Australia wants to study junk DNA sequences to see if they may be descrambled to contain communications from extraterrestrial intelligences.’
      • ‘Inarticulate intelligences have to struggle across the gulf between word and thought; with him, word and thought lead each other on unstoppably.’
      • ‘I have a series of dreams in a similar ‘style’, which involve interactions with extra terrestrial intelligences where I seem to be maintaining another life entirely.’
      • ‘One important aspect of the surge in information-processing ability displayed on Earth in recent years is the way it should revolutionize our ideas about what extraterrestrial intelligences would do.’
      • ‘We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own.’
      • ‘You may be a little puzzled that two of the country's biggest intelligences should be so preoccupied by such a trifling matter as the future of a second-rate footie outfit.’
      • ‘But do we have an obligation to allow machine intelligences to evolve into human-like minds?’
      • ‘For one thing, probably half the people I know believe this world is being watched by alien intelligences.’
      • ‘What happens when we set out to build artificial intelligences in real life rather than in the movies?’
      • ‘Worryingly, there seems to be some evidence that these asteroids were sent here by unknown intelligences.’
      • ‘I hope the intelligences would be more accurate in pinpointing the real criminals instead of harassing innocents.’
      • ‘Lipsey enjoys the high grade intelligences that populate the Treasury.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, belief in extraterrestrial intelligences continues to grow with an almost religious fervour.’
      • ‘Or imagine artificial intelligences which are geniuses at lying.’
      • ‘Gibson's writing started out being about artificial intelligences attempting to use rogue computer hackers to not so much take over the world as to earn their own identity within it.’
      • ‘In Victorian England more calculating intelligences are at work, which ultimately prove fatal for the pirates.’
  • 2The collection of information of military or political value.

    ‘the chief of military intelligence’
    • ‘Most of the abused prisoners had no military intelligence value, Special Agent Worth said.’
    • ‘He advanced to the military command in the 1980s, and became chief of military intelligence.’
    • ‘Since July, the defense secretary, military intelligence chief and finance secretary have resigned.’
    • ‘Aircraft losses forced the United States to look at other methods for collecting photo reconnaissance intelligence information.’
    • ‘Tenet's departure comes after a series of political, military and intelligence fiascos for the Bush administration.’
    • ‘From September of 1970, he served in the Urals Military District as intelligence chief of a missile battalion.’
    • ‘They also said the study makes no mention of the value of intelligence collection and the need to reward cooperation with lesser sentences.’
    • ‘Many of them are actually my military commanders and intelligence agents.’
    • ‘Apparently, along with their civil technology, they had at least some military or intelligence capabilities, including surveillance.’
    • ‘But they have had no objections to Jeffery, whose political, military and intelligence record has been unreservedly embraced.’
    • ‘If you're in the military reconnaissance or intelligence business, you already know the value of real-time information.’
    • ‘But she soon transferred to Iraq as chief military intelligence officer.’
    • ‘Oriental blue and silver gray are the traditional colors of military intelligence units.’
    • ‘This also applies to air defense artillery, signal, and military intelligence units.’
    • ‘Lawmakers have been debating whether the recordings, reportedly illegal wiretaps by military intelligence agents, could be used in legal proceedings.’
    • ‘Are the CIA and military intelligence agencies cooperating fully with the investigation?’
    • ‘He is a former British soldier who was ordered by military intelligence chiefs to infiltrate the IRA.’
    information gathering, surveillance, observation, reconnaissance, spying, espionage, undercover work, infiltration, elint, cyberespionage, humint
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 People employed in the collection of military or political information.
      ‘British intelligence has secured numerous local informers’
      • ‘US and Iraqi intelligence have not been able to confirm the latest report.’
      • ‘During the Second World War, British intelligence secretly bugged the cells occupied by some of the most senior German army, navy and air force commanders who had been captured by the Allies.’
      • ‘But the multilayered Maturin, who sometimes dips too often into his own medicine chest, is also a spy for British intelligence.’
      • ‘The committee's unprecedented trawl through the secret world of British intelligence makes devastating reading for Blair.’
      • ‘And, we don't need Washington to tell us whether Khan was a double agent for Pakistani intelligence.’
      • ‘Some suspect that British intelligence was attempting to spy on them.’
      • ‘Her duties also included mediating information-sharing disputes between FBI intelligence and criminal agents.’
      • ‘He has been in jail ever since, with additional charges of divulging state secrets to British intelligence.’
      • ‘Lozano based his complaint on alleged wiretaps by military intelligence.’
      • ‘Barbouti is suspected of having been a double agent for British intelligence and the Iraqi regime.’
      • ‘Others continued to regard it as a crucial élite and the means by which to defeat British intelligence and secure arms contacts.’
      • ‘American intelligence knew Hanoi's general intentions, but was wrong on the estimates of the time and place of the offensive.’
      • ‘The idea that it will help Chinese intelligence infiltrate America's military secrets seems more than just a little ludicrous.’
      • ‘The Times article accepts the claims of military intelligence at face value.’
      • ‘The formal head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon was greeted with flowers.’
      • ‘The bodyguard told Israel intelligence the following secrets.’
      • ‘The plans were soon implemented, and it would be most surprising if they were not known at least in a general way to Western intelligence.’
    2. 2.2 Military or political information.
      ‘the gathering of intelligence’
      • ‘The two nations share technology and intelligence, conduct joint military exercises, and work together in the areas of research and strategy.’
      • ‘We have 15 agencies now that are charged with gathering intelligence about our potential enemies.’
      • ‘Given that the very gathering of such intelligence is at the heart of the dispute, how could such information be rendered politically neutral?’
      • ‘They were to get behind enemy lines and act as scouts and gather intelligence to feed back to British military headquarters.’
      • ‘Spy scandals are a major reason why CIA has been overly reliant on technical methods of gathering intelligence.’
      • ‘However, this time additional intelligence informed the British about the true nature of the field.’
      • ‘The problem centred around intelligence from a police informant suggesting people other than Coghlan could have committed the murder.’
      • ‘Rather it appears to have been a concerted policy decision to use illegal techniques to acquire intelligence from detainees in violation of international standards.’
      • ‘It will improve the gathering of military intelligence on enemy movements and boost early warning capability.’
      • ‘The FBI is gathering intelligence from (drum roll, please) the Internet.’
      • ‘The process of gathering and analyzing intelligence was sometimes distorted by preconceptions and politicization.’
      • ‘What becomes clear throughout that is the value of intelligence in determining a nation's response.’
      • ‘Our big gap and the capability we most need can only come from human intelligence - information gathered from human resources on the ground in enemy territory.’
      • ‘The police must be trained in sound techniques of gathering and sharing intelligence, assembling evidence and scrupulously following procedure.’
      • ‘The addresses were targeted from intelligence gathered about where the weapons were being bought, primarily over the Internet.’
      • ‘Their task was to scout some way ahead of the main infantry units, gathering intelligence and reporting information to headquarters.’
      • ‘It has also stepped up the gathering of information and intelligence on petitioners to better identify the sources of tension, sources said.’
      • ‘Ortega folded his arms, taking comfort in the fact that this brutal method of gathering intelligence was for the better of South America, and the world.’
      • ‘Just because people do not see the police doing anything it does not mean we are not working behind the scenes gathering intelligence and information about these crimes.’
      • ‘And the military collects intelligence from a great variety of platforms.’
      information, facts, details, particulars, data, figures, statistics, knowledge, report, reports
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3archaic Information in general; news.
      information, facts, details, particulars, data, figures, statistics, knowledge, report, reports
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin intelligentia, from intelligere ‘understand’ (see intelligent).