Definition of intellectual in US English:

intellectual

adjective

  • 1Relating to the intellect.

    ‘children need intellectual stimulation’
    • ‘We have got to probe her intellectual ability to deal with these issues.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were contests that tested the intellectual abilities of students.’
    • ‘I fear I failed to provide the requisite intellectual stimulation and he moved on.’
    • ‘She was a lady of generosity, love and friendship and of great intellectual ability and laity.’
    • ‘She explained these as exercise, nourishment and intellectual stimulation.’
    • ‘It is great having the planning time and the intellectual stimulation of adults and colleagues.’
    • ‘A rare breed in comedy - intellectual rigour and the ability to crack hilarious jokes.’
    • ‘Any more, and the stimulation of intellectual life will magnify the bonds of social life.’
    • ‘Looking back I think it's obvious they felt threatened and felt a need to denigrate my intellectual ability.’
    • ‘In some cases the mother may also be limited in terms of intellectual ability and emotional capacity.’
    • ‘Such was his intellectual ability that he was able to skip lectures to go climbing yet still graduate with flying colours.’
    • ‘This global health focus offered academics intellectual stimulation and prestige.’
    • ‘Your intellectual ability is tempered with sympathetic feelings.’
    • ‘This clearly represents the limit of her intellectual abilities.’
    • ‘It builds up both the physical and intellectual abilities of those practising it.’
    • ‘Children affected with cerebral palsy generally have basic intellectual ability.’
    • ‘In his own time he also visited other blogs, to pinch ideas for intellectual stimulation, and to attract return visitors.’
    mental, cerebral, cognitive
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    1. 1.1 Appealing to or requiring use of the intellect.
      ‘the movie wasn't very intellectual, but it caught the mood of the times’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In its ambition, its intellectual vigour and its knowledge, it more than justifies its place on any bookshelf.’
      • ‘All of those things require a degree of intellectual effort.’
      • ‘The level of knowledge, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity was truly inspiring.’
      • ‘Perhaps all that stands in the balance here is a highbrow intellectual debate.’
      • ‘I can see the intellectual appeal of it as an exploration of endurance, but three things get in the way of full appreciation.’
      • ‘But, in the end, it is a production in which raw passion is always subservient to intellectual cleverness.’
      • ‘The Renaissance in Europe was a remarkable period of artistic, cultural, and intellectual activity.’
      • ‘There isn't the vibrant intellectual culture that is needed to support a good arts scene.’
      • ‘This requires hard work, intellectual effort, and the maturity to live with differing points of view.’
      • ‘To flourish, to make a success of life, requires engagement in intellectual pursuits.’
      • ‘To say more would require something of an intellectual or stylistic mandate which Lanchester conspicuously does not have.’
      • ‘Finally, a fabulous essay that requires more intellectual energy to understand than I have today.’
      • ‘These pursuits require mental acuteness, intellectual agility and detailed analysis.’
      • ‘The failure of love punctuates much of the intellectual cleverness of Farrell's works.’
      • ‘Once again, however, despite its intellectual appeal, this scenario still has a number of problems.’
      • ‘That's probably the most intellectual letter we've had for a while.’
    2. 1.2 Possessing 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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noun

  • A person possessing a highly developed intellect.

    • ‘Are intellectuals and scholars always expected to find faults of their own people?’
    • ‘It was written by a group of Arab intellectuals and experts with known concern for the Arab world.’
    • ‘Optimism of the will is all very well for imprisoned intellectuals, but Scotland could do with a little realism.’
    • ‘On my first trip to the pub I am reminded how half a dozen pints can reduce dazzling intellectuals to burbling halfwits.’
    • ‘Yet there is an important distinction between government by the intelligent and by intellectuals.’
    • ‘It's largely down to him that even quite foolish Frenchmen harbour the belief that they are intellectuals.’
    • ‘Yet still our poverty activists and intellectuals insist that poverty is getting worse.’
    • ‘The intellectuals could not prevent the masses from learning to read.’
    • ‘Academics are interested in ideas, whereas intellectuals seek to bring ideas to an entire culture.’
    • ‘What Leftist intellectuals and agitators say is not what ordinary Leftists say.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They get the latest books, we get to understand the latest thinking of these intellectuals.’
    • ‘At the same time, a growing professionalism reduced the role of intellectuals as public sages.’
    • ‘Recently, a group of Iranian intellectuals also reacted to the issue and signed a petition.’
    • ‘The book is in essence the life story of a mild-mannered and cultured intellectual living under communism.’
    • ‘I don't think by any means it's something to be done by star intellectuals or people from the top.’
    • ‘This offered a platform for a large number of intellectuals and thinkers urging enlightened progress.’
    • ‘It has to do with the intelligence of our opponents, the warmongering intellectuals.’
    • ‘For the most part, the intellectuals were projecting their own sordid chauvinism on to the working class.’
    intelligent person, learned person, highbrow, academic, bookworm, bookish person, man of letters, woman of letters, bluestocking, thinker, brain, scholar, sage
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Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin intellectualis, from intellectus ‘understanding’, from intellegere ‘understand’ (see intelligent).

Pronunciation

intellectual

/ˌɪn(t)əˈlɛk(t)ʃ(u)əl//ˌin(t)əˈlek(t)SH(o͞o)əl/