Definition of intellectual in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌɪntəˈlɛktʃʊəl/


1Relating to the intellect: children need intellectual stimulation
More example sentences
  • This global health focus offered academics intellectual stimulation and prestige.
  • Children affected with cerebral palsy generally have basic intellectual ability.
  • We have got to probe her intellectual ability to deal with these issues.
mental, cerebral, cognitive;
rational, psychological, abstract, conceptual, theoretical, analytical, logical;
rare mindly, phrenic, ratiocinative
1.1Appealing to or requiring use of the intellect: the film wasn’t very intellectual, but it caught the mood of the times
More example sentences
  • Finally, a fabulous essay that requires more intellectual energy to understand than I have today.
  • All of those things require a degree of intellectual effort.
  • This requires hard work, intellectual effort, and the maturity to live with differing points of view.
1.2Possessing a highly developed intellect: you are an intellectual girl, like your mother
More example sentences
  • 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
informal brainy, genius
archaic lettered, clerkly


A person possessing a highly developed intellect: a prominent political thinker and intellectual
More example sentences
  • Yet there is an important distinction between government by the intelligent and by intellectuals.
  • Are intellectuals and scholars always expected to find faults of their own people?
  • This offered a platform for a large number of intellectuals and thinkers urging enlightened progress.
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;
Hindu  pandit
informal egghead, brains, bright spark, whizz, wizard, walking encyclopedia
British informal brainbox, clever clogs, boffin
North American informal brainiac, rocket scientist, maven, Brahmin, pointy-head
archaic bookman



Pronunciation: /ˌɪntəlɛktʃʊˈalɪti/
Example sentences
  • The pair of them make a delightfully balanced couple, his gentle intellectuality counterpoised by her firm practicality.
  • It's about time they added some intellectuality to this show.
  • He is the man proud of the intellectuality of the woman he is with.


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

Words that rhyme with intellectual

aspectual, effectual

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in¦tel|lec¦tual

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