Definition of intellectualism in English:



  • 1The exercise of the intellect at the expense of the emotions.

    • ‘It is a well known fact that conservative republicans have an antipathy to intellectualism in political thinking, preferring to rely instead on traditionalism and some mysterious form of organic growth.’
    • ‘One possible explanation relates to differing attitudes between the two cultures regarding intellectualism and scholarship.’
    • ‘The Ellison family feasts on oysters, and intellectualism takes priority over religion.’
    • ‘They are all good examples of a lively new form of public intellectualism that is not academic in tone.’
    • ‘English departments marginalize it, perhaps because academics consider religion incompatible with intellectualism.’
    • ‘Black is the color of intellectualism, of abstinence, of penitence.’
    • ‘Even a Vietnam War hero from the Northeast came across as too steeped in intellectualism and internationalism to understand military families.’
    • ‘It's not the pretentious air of intellectualism and pre-programme boasting which offended.’
    • ‘He reinforced an Australian cultural stereotype which equated intellectualism with sexual deviance.’
    • ‘This hidden intellectualism is especially problematic when considered side-by-side with the overt anti-intellectualism prevalent throughout the novel.’
    • ‘Why are intellectualism and sexuality dichotomous?’
    • ‘The title story, lucid and witty, with an odd mixture of eroticism and quiet intellectualism, has an English professor trying to prostitute good conversation; a harder sell than the typical wares offered on the street.’
    • ‘Its characteristics of intellectualism, timelessness, cleverness, spin, non-contact, heroism, and contemplation are as if specifically designed to fit the national psyche.’
    • ‘But he did not go in for intellectualism, he developed an emotional approach to classical music, appealing to the common man.’
    • ‘Avoiding any detailed examination of the life of the mind - not just its content but all the complex paraphernalia of professional intellectualism - takes care of the first difficulty.’
    • ‘This contradiction opens up an interesting set of cultural questions to explore: Why are blackness and intellectualism traditionally opposed?’
    • ‘Neither intellectualism nor emotions such as hatred and anger are able to occupy such a space.’
    • ‘In drama, a dullness has crept in because intellectualism isn't a word you're allowed to utter any more.’
    • ‘The Civil War's echoes can still be heard today in the strained relations of people who only differ in the color of their skin, and in the continuing tension between intellectualism and tradition.’
    • ‘So my book choices don't reflect a pretence to intellectualism - quite the reverse.’
    pretentiousness, pomposity, pompousness, dullness, tedium
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Philosophy The theory that knowledge is wholly or mainly derived from pure reason; rationalism.
      • ‘For Sartre, we should reject intellectualism, we should reject all metaphysical speculation, including philosophy itself.’
      • ‘This theory is contrasted to intellectualism, which gives primacy to God's reason.’
      • ‘Socratic intellectualism has two significant consequences.’
      • ‘I self-actualised in the sense that I love intellectualism, the thinking field.’
      • ‘Hence, used as a symbol of intellectual life, or a standard of what real intellectualism entails, his thesis obfuscates issues of access, privilege and accountability.’


Early 19th century (as a term in philosophy): from intellectual, on the pattern of German Intellektualismus.