late 14c., "faculty of understanding," from Old French intelligence (12c.), from Latin intelligentia, intellegentia "understanding, power of discerning; art, skill, taste," from intelligentem (nominative intelligens) "discerning," present participle of intelligere "to understand, comprehend," from inter- "between" (see inter-) + legere "choose, pick out, read" (see lecture (n.)).
Meaning superior understanding, sagacity" is from early 15c. Sense of "information, news" first recorded mid-15c., especially "secret information from spies" (1580s). Intelligence quotient first recorded 1921 (see I.Q.).
intelligence in·tel·li·gence (ĭn-těl'ə-jəns)
The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge, especially toward a purposeful goal.
An individual's relative standing on two quantitative indices, namely measured intelligence, as expressed by an intelligence quotient, and effectiveness of adaptive behavior.