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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 intellectualist
Historical Examples
  • Pragmatist truth contains the whole of intellectualist truth and a hundred other things in addition.

    The Meaning of Truth William James
  • We may note at once, however, that it is not an ‘intellectualist’ ideal.

  • Theory is a possession of the theorist, intellect of the intellectualist.

  • Since Meredith is an intellectualist, we naturally ask what may be his philosophy.

  • None of these features does intellectualist logic deign to recognize.

    Pragmatism D.L. Murray
  • Nietzsche was a mob-man, just as Bergson is an intellectualist.

  • The consideration should be obvious enough; but it has commonly been ignored by philosophers of the intellectualist school.

    The Group Mind William McDougall
  • intellectualist truth is then only pragmatist truth in posse.

    The Meaning of Truth William James
  • It is the fact that he wrote a play designed to destroy the whole of this intellectualist fallacy at the age of twenty-three.

    Robert Browning G. K. Chesterton
  • There is an intellectualist logic coalescent with an absolutist metaphysic as aforesaid.

British Dictionary definitions for intellectualist


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 intellectualist



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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