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[in-tl-ek-choo-uh-liz-uh m] /ˌɪn tlˈɛk tʃu əˌlɪz əm/
devotion to intellectual pursuits.
the exercise of the intellect.
excessive emphasis on abstract or intellectual matters, especially with a lack of proper consideration for emotions.
  1. the doctrine that knowledge is wholly or chiefly derived from pure reason.
  2. the belief that reason is the final principle of reality.
Origin of intellectualism
First recorded in 1820-30; intellectual + -ism
Related forms
intellectualist, noun
intellectualistic, adjective
intellectualistically, adverb
nonintellectualism, noun
overintellectualism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intellectualism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • intellectualism and gnosticism are not confined to the church.

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe
  • intellectualism, then, is another way in which we try to “play it safe.”

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe
  • intellectualism is the term that best describes this attitude.

  • But the higher types of intellectualism appear to me slightly mad.

  • Intuitions, therefore, are an embarrassment, rather than a help to intellectualism.

    Pragmatism D.L. Murray
British Dictionary definitions for intellectualism


development and exercise of the intellect
the placing of excessive value on the intellect, esp with disregard for the emotions
  1. the doctrine that reason is the ultimate criterion of knowledge
  2. the doctrine that deliberate action is consequent on a process of conscious or subconscious reasoning
Derived Forms
intellectualist, noun, adjective
intellectualistic, adjective
intellectualistically, 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
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Word Origin and History for intellectualism

1829; see intellectual + -ism. Probably based on German Intellektualismus (said by Klein to have been coined 1803 by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775-1854) from Late Latin intellectualis). In English, originally with reference to the doctrines of Leibnitz.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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