Intelligent vs Intellectual: Difference and Comparison

People might be baffled by the meaning of a few words and sometimes end up comprehending those words as synonyms.

Before employing a word in a text or speech, it is vital to know what it signifies to avoid miscommunication.

Intelligent and intellectual are two English words and have slightly different meanings.

We must comprehend them before using them in text and speech.

Key Takeaways

  1. Intelligence relates to the ability to learn, understand, and apply knowledge, while intellectualism is the pursuit and appreciation of intellectual activities and ideas.
  2. Intelligent people can quickly grasp concepts and solve problems, while intellectuals engage in critical thinking and deep discussions.
  3. Intelligence can be innate or developed, while intellectualism is acquired through education and personal interests.

Intelligent vs Intellectual

Being intelligent refers to the ability to learn, understand, and apply knowledge, measured through IQ or other standardized tests. Being intellectual, on the other hand, suggests a deep interest in and understanding of complex ideas and subjects, associated with scholarly pursuits and critical thinking.

Intelligent vs Intellectual

The English word intelligent has been known since the 15th century and was taken from the Latin word.

It is a quality shown by living beings (animals and humans), which means to be skilled in adapting to new things.

Some beings are born intelligent, while others can improve their intelligence through hard work.

The English phrase intellectual was borrowed from the French language in the 14th century. It is that person who has done a lot of academic research.

Or, we can call intellectual one who offers innovative solutions. This word falls under two parts of speech and is employed according to the context.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonIntelligentIntellectual
DefinitionIntelligent is a quick learner of any task.Intellectual is knowledgeable and would offer great solutions to an issue.
Types of SpeechSince the word intelligent shows a quality, it falls under adjective.The word intellectual is both a noun and an adjective.
MeasurementOne can measure an intelligent brain through IQ level or genes.There is no way of measuring the intellectual level of a person.
SynonymsBrilliant is a synonym of the word intelligent.The synonyms of intellectual are scholarly and brainy.
ExampleHe is an intelligent kid in his school.I met intellectual people.

What is Intelligent?

The English word intelligent is common among natives and non-natives of the English language.

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It can be interpreted in many ways and is for addressing anybody( living being or non-living beings).

The word intelligent became part of English in the fifteenth century. The meaning of the phrase is being smart mentally or functionally.

If someone is a quick learner, we address him as an intelligent person or animal.

Furthermore, a pupil who excels in academics is intelligent.

Apart from academics, someone who excels in any other field (arts, food, work) is also considered intelligent.

Intelligent ones are always praised and loved by others. Moreover, they are motivated with generous rewards.

A machine constructed by an expert human can also be intelligent. The working machine has a set of preset codes that make it efficient.

Such intelligent machines perform similar tasks as humans.

To learn the meaning and usage of the term intelligent in English, one must learn to make sentences using this term.

The sentences we can make are:

  1. She is an intelligent girl in class 7th.
  2. Their pet is intelligent and fun-loving.
  3. This robotic machine is an intelligent one.

The word intelligent is used in the first statement to describe human qualities, and in the second sentence, it is used to describe animal qualities.

In the third sentence, the term intelligent implies the machine’s artificial quality.


What is Intellectual?

The phrase intellectual is also been a part of the English vocabulary since the fourteenth century.

It means that someone is exceptionally smart in terms of the brain.

Till the 18th century, it was an adjective. However, in the 19th century, an English expert addressed it as a noun.

It originated from the French word.

 An intellectual is a person who thinks critically (considering all facts and making judgments before taking any action).

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He takes every decision after conducting in-depth research to minimize the risks.

Moreover, when someone is interested in conducting any research (academic or non-academic), that person is also listed as intellectual.

A person who has instilled extraordinary knowledge in himself is also an intellectual.

Additionally, when a person does hold a doctorate in any aspect (science, maths, English, arts, construction, etcetera), that person is addressed as intellectual.

There is no way to assess a person’s intellect because it is determined by the capability of the individual’s brain.

Due to similar meanings, we must not confuse the word intellectual with the phrase intelligent.

We can learn the usage of the phrase intellectual in sentences.

So, the sentences we can make are:

  1. His mother is an intellectual.
  2. I came across intellectuals at the conference.

In the first sentence, the intellectual is an adjective (showing the mother’s quality). The word intellectual is a noun in the second sentence.


Main Differences Between Intelligent and Intellectual

  1. The word intelligent falls in the subcategory of the word intellectual.
  2. The term intelligent means that somebody is mentally brilliant through hard work. On the other hand, the phrase intellectual means that somebody is intelligent at an extreme level.
  3. The phrase intelligent was borrowed from Latin words. However, the term intellectual was derived from the French.
  4. We can evaluate an intelligent mind by testing the IQ level. On the contrary, we are unable to measure intellectual level.
  5. In a sentence, the term intelligent can be used as, Everyone loves intelligent people, while the word intellectual can be employed as His sister is an intellectual person.
Difference Between Intelligent and Intellectual

Last Updated : 27 July, 2023

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