Open main menu
See also: intel·lectual



English Wikipedia has an article on:

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for intellectual in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Alternative formsEdit


From Old French intellectuel, from Latin intellectualis


  • IPA(key): /ˌɪntəˈlɛk(t)ʃʊəl/
  • (file)


intellectual (comparative more intellectual, superlative most intellectual)

  1. Belonging to, or performed by, the intellect; mental or cognitive.
    intellectual powers, activities, etc.
  2. Endowed with intellect; having the power of understanding; having capacity for the higher forms of knowledge or thought; characterized by intelligence or mental capacity
    an intellectual person
  3. Suitable for exercising the intellect; formed by, and existing for, the intellect alone; perceived by the intellect
    intellectual employments
  4. Relating to the understanding; treating of the mind.
    intellectual philosophy, sometimes called "mental" philosophy
  5. (archaic, poetic) Spiritual.
    • 1805, William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book II, lines 331-334 (eds. Jonathan Wordsworth, M. H. Abrams, & Stephen Gill, published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1979):
      I deem not profitless those fleeting moods / Of shadowy exultation; not for this, / That they are kindred to our purer mind / And intellectual life []


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



intellectual (plural intellectuals)

  1. An intelligent, learned person, especially one who discourses about learned matters.
  2. (archaic) The intellect or understanding; mental powers or faculties.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, London: Edw. Dod & Nath. Ekins, 1650, Book I, Chapter 1, p. 2,[1]
      [] although their intellectuals had not failed in the theory of truth, yet did the inservient and brutall faculties control the suggestion of reason []

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • "intellectual" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 169.