Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


English Wikipedia has an article on:


From Old French intelligence, from Latin intelligentia. Doublet of intelligentsia.


  • IPA(key): /ɪnˈtɛl.ɪ.d͡ʒəns/
  • (file)


intelligence (countable and uncountable, plural intelligences)

  1. (chiefly uncountable) Capacity of mind, especially to understand principles, truths, facts or meanings, acquire knowledge, and apply it to practice; the ability to comprehend and learn.
    • 1912, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, Chapter 5
      Not so, however, with Tarzan, the man-child. His life amidst the dangers of the jungle had taught him to meet emergencies with self-confidence, and his higher intelligence resulted in a quickness of mental action far beyond the powers of the apes.
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children's brains”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 34:
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
  2. (countable) An entity that has such capacities.
    • 1849, [Alfred, Lord Tennyson], In Memoriam, London: Edward Moxon, [], published 1850, OCLC 3968433, (please specify |part=prologue or epilogue, or |canto=I to CXXIX):
      The great Intelligences fair / That range above our mortal state, / In circle round the blessed gate, / Received and gave him welcome there.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 102:
      The living intelligence, the Martian within the hood, was slain and splashed to the four winds of heaven, and the thing was now but a mere intricate device of metal whirling to destruction.
  3. (chiefly uncountable) Information, usually secret, about the enemy or about hostile activities.
  4. (countable) A political or military department, agency or unit designed to gather information, usually secret, about the enemy or about hostile activities.
  5. (dated) Acquaintance; intercourse; familiarity.


Derived terms[edit]




Borrowed from Latin intelligentia (the act of choosing between, intelligence), from intellegō (understand), from inter (between) + legō (choose, pick out, read).


  • IPA(key): /ɛ̃.tɛ.li.ʒɑ̃s/, /ɛ̃ʒɑ̃s/
  • (file)


intelligence f (plural intelligences)

  1. intelligence; cleverness
  2. comprehension

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from English intelligence.


intelligence f (invariable)

  1. A political or military department, agency or unit designed to gather information.

Middle French[edit]


intelligence f (plural intelligences)

  1. intelligence
  2. comprehension
    • 1595, Michel de Montaigne, Essais, book II, chapter 10:
      Je souhaiterois avoir plus parfaicte comprehension des choses, mais je ne la veux pas achepter si cher qu’elle couste.
      I would like to have a more perfect knowledge of everything, but I don't want to buy it for how much it costs

Old French[edit]


intelligence f (oblique plural intelligences, nominative singular intelligence, nominative plural intelligences)

  1. comprehension
  2. meaning
  3. ability to comprehend


  • English: intelligence
  • French: intelligence