[ in-tl-ek-choo-uh-liz-uhm ]


  1. devotion to intellectual pursuits.
  2. the exercise of the intellect.
  3. excessive emphasis on abstract or intellectual matters, especially with a lack of proper consideration for emotions.
  4. Philosophy.
    1. the doctrine that knowledge is wholly or chiefly derived from pure reason.
    2. the belief that reason is the final principle of reality.


/ ˌɪntɪˈlɛktʃʊəˌlɪzəm /


  1. development and exercise of the intellect
  2. the placing of excessive value on the intellect, esp with disregard for the emotions
  3. philosophy
    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
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˌintelˌlectualˈistic, adjective
  • ˌintelˈlectualist, nounadjective
  • ˌintelˌlectualˈistically, adverb
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Other Words From

  • intel·lectu·al·ist noun
  • intel·lectu·al·istic adjective
  • intel·lectu·al·isti·cal·ly adverb
  • nonin·tel·lectu·al·ism noun
  • over·intel·lectu·al·ism noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of intellectualism1

First recorded in 1820–30; intellectual + -ism
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Example Sentences

Since 1917, the two-year institution has taught students using a mix of cowboy grit and high intellectualism, a cocktail meant to prepare the world’s future leaders for a life of service to humanity.

And this mix of intellectualism and faithfulness is filling an unmet need among students on many of these campuses.

Do they have a point, or are their complaints just anti-intellectualism run amok?

These are institutions that are meant to promote the pursuit of intellectualism and honesty.

But America's long tradition of anti-intellectualism helped him become a star religious entrepreneur.

There the American kids encounter high schools that are deeply, even shockingly, enamored of intellectualism.

Here also appears clearly the anti-intellectualism of Crescas and his disagreement with Maimonides and Gersonides.

The Kabbala was at first a protest against too much intellectualism and rigidity in religion.

If anywhere, therefore, it is in the psychology of religion that intellectualism is doomed to failure.

Intellectualism may not always be so clearly other-worldly as Plato shows himself to be in this passage.

No doubt much of the gaiety, the delightful intellectualism of that pleasant refuge, had departed with the altering time.





intellectual disabilityintellectuality