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Difference Between Intelligent and Intellectual

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


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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.

Intelligent vs Intellectual

The difference between intelligent and intellectual is that the word intelligent means a quality that possesses how quickly a living being can learn new things. On the other hand, intellectual shows how brilliantly a person can act and think. Moreover, we use the word as an adjective. However, the word intellectual can be implemented as a noun or adjective.

Intelligent vs Intellectual

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

It is a quality shown by the living being (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 since the 14th century. It is that person who has done a lot of academic research.

Or, we can call intellectual to 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.

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

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 the English Language, 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 when someone is exceptionally smart in terms of the brain.

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

It originated from the French word.

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

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.

We must not confuse the word intellectual with the phrase intelligent due to similar meanings.

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 in the conference.

In the first sentence, 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 by 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, Intelligent people are loved by everyone, while the word intellectual can be employed as His sister is an intellectual person.
Difference Between Intelligent and Intellectual
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