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[in-tl-ek-choo-uh-liz-uh m] /ˌɪn tlˈɛk tʃu əˌlɪz əm/
devotion to intellectual pursuits.
the exercise of the intellect.
excessive emphasis on abstract or intellectual matters, especially with a lack of proper consideration for emotions.
  1. the doctrine that knowledge is wholly or chiefly derived from pure reason.
  2. the belief that reason is the final principle of reality.
Origin of intellectualism
1820-30; intellectual + -ism
Related forms
intellectualist, noun
intellectualistic, adjective
intellectualistically, adverb
nonintellectualism, noun
overintellectualism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for intellectualism
  • Even if he did not, his conspicuous intellectualism and uncompromising worldview might count against him.
  • Some believe that kids put a damper on their intellectualism.
  • Many students equate verbosity with intellectualism.
  • Bop was a wildly introverted style developed out of a certain intellectualism and not a little neuroticism.
  • There is plenty of ignorance and anti-intellectualism on the right to lament.
  • From scene to scene, the movie often meanders from comedy to terror to chin-stroking intellectualism.
  • Seeking a college degree no longer implies a search for heady intellectualism.
  • It symbolizes wisdom, shrewdness, ambition and intellectualism of the left brain.
  • The absentminded professor, the ivory tower reflect anti-intellectualism.
  • Anti-intellectualism which devalues arts and humanitarian pursuits over science and pragmatics.
British Dictionary definitions for intellectualism


development and exercise of the intellect
the placing of excessive value on the intellect, esp with disregard for the emotions
  1. the doctrine that reason is the ultimate criterion of knowledge
  2. the doctrine that deliberate action is consequent on a process of conscious or subconscious reasoning
Derived Forms
intellectualist, noun, adjective
intellectualistic, adjective
intellectualistically, 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
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Word Origin and History for intellectualism

1829; see intellectual + -ism. Probably based on German Intellektualismus (said by Klein to have been coined 1803 by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775-1854) from Late Latin intellectualis). In English, originally with reference to the doctrines of Leibnitz.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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