Definition of intellect in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈin(t)lˌekt/


1The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters: he was a man of action rather than of intellect
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  • First it is a denial of the power of the human intellect to reason out understanding.
  • It is a matter of intellect, thought, indirect leadership, advice, and consensus-building.
  • Is that definition of intellect objectively ‘better’ than a televisual based one?
mind, brain(s), intelligence, reason, understanding, thought, brainpower, sense, judgment, wisdom, wits
informal gray matter, IQ, brain cells, smarts
1.1The understanding or mental powers of a particular person: his keen intellect
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  • It combines the combustible power of a keen intellect with powerful conviction and ethical courage.
  • The new leader will have to display strength of character, sturdiness of will, a keen intellect, a sense of humour and an ability to relate to the people of Scotland.
  • Unification of mind and body, as explorers use their intellects, senses, imaginations, spirits, emotions and bodies.
1.2An intelligent or intellectual person: sapping our country of some of its brightest intellects
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  • To the world, he was one of the brightest intellects of a very great intellectual era.
  • Therefore, many scholars and latter day thinkers and intellects disagreed with him on a variety of issues.
  • A formidable intellect, a compassionate man of integrity and a scholar of the law, he already is a terrific judge.
thinker, intellectual, sage;
mind, brain


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

  • The words intellect, intelligence, and intelligible, all from the same period, go back to Latin intellegere literally ‘to choose between’ but used for ‘to understand’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·tel·lect

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