• synonyms


[suh-ree-bruh l, ser-uh-]
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  1. Anatomy, Zoology. of or relating to the cerebrum or the brain.
  2. betraying or characterized by the use of the intellect rather than intuition or instinct: His is a cerebral music that leaves many people cold.
  3. Phonetics. retroflex(def 2).
  1. Phonetics. a cerebral sound.

Origin of cerebral

From the New Latin word cerebrālis, dating back to 1795–1805. See cerebrum, -al1
Related formsce·re·bral·ly, adverbin·ter·cer·e·bral, adjectivenon·cer·e·bral, adjectiveo·ver·ce·re·bral, adjectivepost·ce·re·bral, adjectivepre·ce·re·bral, adjectivesub·cer·e·bral, adjectivesu·per·ce·re·bral, adjectivesu·per·ce·re·bral·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cerebrally

Historical Examples

  • For the first instance, the Louis XV style was inevitable for the fastidious, for the cerebrally morbid.

    Against The Grain

    Joris-Karl Huysmans

British Dictionary definitions for cerebrally


  1. of or relating to the cerebrum or to the entire brain
  2. involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct
  3. phonetics another word for cacuminal
  1. phonetics a consonant articulated in the manner of a cacuminal consonant
Derived Formscerebrally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cerebrally



1816, "pertaining to the brain," from French cérébral (16c.), from Latin cerebrum "the brain" (also "the understanding"), from PIE *keres-, from root *ker- "top of the head" (see horn (n.)). Meaning "intellectual, clever" is from 1929. Cerebral palsy attested from 1824, originally a general term for cases of paralysis that seemed to be traceable to "a morbid state of the encephalon." Later used in a more specific sense from c.1860, based on the work of English surgeon Dr. William Little.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cerebrally in Medicine


(sĕrə-brəl, sə-rē-)
  1. Of or relating to the brain or cerebrum.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cerebrally in Science


[sĕrə-brəl, sə-rēbrəl]
  1. Relating to or involving the brain or cerebrum.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cerebrally in Culture


[(suh-ree-bruhl, ser-uh-bruhl)]

A descriptive term for things pertaining to the brain or cerebrum.


The term is also used figuratively to describe things that appeal to the intellect.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.