Origin of intellectual

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin intellēctuālis, equivalent to intellēctu-, stem of intellēctus intellect + -ālis -al1
Related formsin·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbin·tel·lec·tu·al·ness, nounhalf-in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjectivehalf-in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbhy·per·in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjectivehy·per·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbhy·per·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ness, nounnon·in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjective, nounnon·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbnon·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ness, nouno·ver·in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjectiveo·ver·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbo·ver·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ness, nounpre·in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjectivepre·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbqua·si-in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjectivequa·si-in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbsem·i-in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjective, nounsem·i-in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbsu·per·in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjective, nounsu·per·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverbun·in·tel·lec·tu·al, adjectiveun·in·tel·lec·tu·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedintelligent intelligible intellectual (see synonym study at intelligent)

Synonyms for intellectual

1, 2. mental. 3. See intelligent. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intellectually

Contemporary Examples of intellectually

Historical Examples of intellectually

  • Intellectually I may make mistakes in deduction, but spiritually I cannot but find God.

  • Now, God and his father's fate made him intellectually inferior to the Oriental.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Germany is wholly alive, physically, intellectually and psychically.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

  • The ground of every revolution had to be intellectually prepared.

  • Himself a worshipper of intellect, it was intellectually that he mastered and developed them.

    Views and Reviews

    William Ernest Henley

British Dictionary definitions for intellectually



of or relating to the intellect, as opposed to the emotions
appealing to or characteristic of people with a developed intellectintellectual literature
expressing or enjoying mental activity


a person who enjoys mental activity and has highly developed tastes in art, literature, etc
a person who uses or works with his intellect
a highly intelligent person
Derived Formsintellectuality or intellectualness, nounintellectually, 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 intellectually

late 14c., from intellectual + -ly (2).



late 14c., "grasped by the understanding" (rather than by the senses), from Old French intellectuel and directly from Latin intellectualis "relating to the understanding," from intellectus "discernment, understanding," from past participle stem of intelligere "to understand, discern" (see intelligence). Intellectual property attested from 1845. Other adjective formations included intellective (late 15c.), intellectile (1670s).



1590s, "mind, intellect," from intellectual (adj.); sense of "an intellectual person" is from 1650s. Related: Intellectuals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

intellectually in Culture


A person who engages in academic study or critical evaluation of ideas and issues. (See intelligentsia.)

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.