[in-tel-i-jent-see-uh, -gent-]

plural noun

intellectuals considered as a group or class, especially as a cultural, social, or political elite.

Origin of intelligentsia

1905–10; < Russian intelligéntsia < Latin intelligentia intelligence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intelligentsia

Contemporary Examples of intelligentsia

Historical Examples of intelligentsia

  • In this way he saved a great many of the Dalmatian intelligentsia.

  • The intelligentsia rushed to the rescue with highbrow hue and cry.


    Lawton Mackall

  • But the Balkan has no intelligentsia in the Russian or even American sense.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • But the intelligentsia, by 1885, had been pretty well convinced.

    The Antichrist

    F. W. Nietzsche

  • We both belong to what the Russians call the Intelligentsia.

British Dictionary definitions for intelligentsia



the intelligentsia the educated or intellectual people in a society or community

Word Origin for intelligentsia

C20: from Russian intelligentsiya, from Latin intellegentia intelligence
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 intelligentsia

"the intellectual class collectively," 1905, from Russian intelligyentsia, from Latin intelligentia (see intelligence). Perhaps via Italian intelligenzia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

intelligentsia in Culture



Intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite.

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.