Difference Between Intellectual & Intelligent

The terms “artificial intelligence” and questions like “is there any other intelligent race in the universe” give us a basic understanding of what intelligence means. A boy is considered intelligent if he can easily comprehend complex concepts and demonstrates mental and logical reasoning to solve problems and arrive at solutions. The English language also has the word “intellectual,” which has somewhat similar connotations, leading to confusion between the two terms. To clarify the differences between intellectual and intelligent, we will explore each term in more detail.


When we see or hear the word “intellectual,” we often think of bald, bearded people debating on a burning social issue on television or film makers known for their offbeat movies making comments about their films. This means that we perceive such people as intelligent, and they themselves recognize this fact. A physics professor may be intelligent, but it is when he has attained all possible degrees and is regarded as the best in a place or an institution that he starts to think of himself as an intellectual.

However, according to great scholars, all intellectuality is borrowed and none of it is original. One can become a great scholar or mathematician by just understanding the body of knowledge that has existed for thousands of years. These scholars, physicians, or philosophers become intellectuals in their own right by simply manipulating and rearranging words here and there in a body of knowledge already established.

Nonetheless, it is worth noting that intellectuals can be, and often are, intelligent if we were to disregard rare cases where we encounter pseudo-intellectuals.


Anyone with a high degree of mental capacity for logic and reasoning can be considered an intelligent person. Being intelligent does not necessarily mean having academic qualifications, as a person living in a tribe in a jungle can be intelligent just like a student studying at Harvard University. A high intelligence quotient is often considered proof enough of a person being intelligent. Anyone who can make a quick and reasonable judgment when facing a problem can qualify to be called intelligent. It is not necessary to be a space scientist or a great doctor to be considered intelligent. Intelligence does not see age or sex, as it is an attribute that is either present or not present in an individual.

Key Takeaways

  • Intelligent people tend to think out of the box and are not copycats.
  • Intellectuals are people who are perceived as intelligent by others, and it is society that labels them as such.
  • Intelligence is the opposite of stupidity and reflects an individual’s ability for mental reasoning.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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