Share this entry

intellect Line breaks: in¦tel|lect
Pronunciation: /ˈɪntəlɛkt/

Definition of intellect in English:


[mass noun]
1The faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract matters: he was a man of action rather than of intellect
More example sentences
  • 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, brains, head, intelligence, reason, understanding, comprehension, thought, brainpower, sense, judgement, wisdom, wits
informal nous, grey matter, brainbox, brain cells, upper storey
British informal loaf
North American informal smarts
South African informal kop
1.1 [count noun] A person’s mental powers: her keen intellect
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.2 [count noun] A clever person: sapping our country of some of its brightest intellects
More example sentences
  • 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.


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’.

Words that rhyme with intellect

prefect • abject • retroject

Definition of intellect in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkänfəˌdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...