Key Differences Between Intellect and Intelligence

Table of Contents
1. What is Intellect?
2. Characteristics of an Intellectual
3. What is Intelligence?
4. Characteristics of an Intelligent Person
5. Key Differences Between Intellect and Intelligence
6. Intellect vs. Intelligence: Which is More Important?

Most people have a checklist of criteria or qualities they are looking for in a partner, with intellect and intelligence often being high up on the list. In today’s day and age, with various dating apps taking over the dating world, it can be even more complicated to decipher if a potential partner has the qualities of intellect and intelligence. However, by talking to someone on the phone, for example, or reading the way they write in texts, sometimes you can tell if someone is intellectual, intelligent, or both.

Other traits that you look for might include stable finances, strong family values, a sense of humor, and certain physical attributes. When it comes to intellect and intelligence, both are important, but which is more important?

You might also be wondering how to tell if someone is more of an intellectual, or more intelligent – and you may also be wondering if you are someone who’s more intellectual or higher in intelligence.

Many people use the terms intellect and intelligence interchangeably, but they are not the same. We are going to discuss the key differences between intellect and intelligence, and which of these characteristics should be a higher priority for both yourself and your potential partner.

What is Intellect?

Intellect is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “The power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will; the capacity for knowledge”.

Intellect refers to the ability to both understand and provide reasoning for ideas in an objective manner. People who possess a high level of intellect tend to make decisions based on sound reasoning that is connected with facts and relevant history.

Characteristics of an Intellectual

An intellectual person, who is considered to have high amounts of intellect, is predominantly identified as a person who prefers facts and makes carefully (and wisely) calculated decisions based on these facts.

An intellectual is a person who:

  • Looks for the facts.
  • Has good critical thinking skills
  • Thinks based on reasoning.
  • Makes calculated decisions.

Critical thinking skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but they do come naturally to an intellect. Read this article for more information on what critical thinking is.

An intellectual is generally inborn, meaning the skills and mindset are not gathered through academics or studies. An intellectual can understand complex ideas and concepts with very little effort. An intellectual is often driven to challenge themselves and find out more information through life experiences.

What is Intelligence?

It’s very common for people to have goals to increase their intelligence and therefore increase their IQ (intelligence quotient.) Check out this article on how to increase your IQ.

Intelligence is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “The ability to learn or understand, or to deal with new or trying situations”.

Intelligence is a term that is frequently used to describe a person who can acquire new skills quite easily, absorb knowledge, and apply these abilities with ease.

According to the Theory of Sternberg, there are 3 types of intelligence. The 3 types of intelligence are practical, creative, and analytical intelligence. However, the theory of intelligence has been a hotly debated topic in psychology for centuries.

Characteristics of an Intelligent Person

A highly intelligent person can pick up new knowledge and new skills much quicker than the average person. Furthermore, they know the right questions to ask to understand this new knowledge on a deeper level. As a result, they can apply their new knowledge with ease.

An intelligent person is a person who:

  • Has the ability to learn new skills.
  • Can adapt to foreign situations.
  • Is curious.
  • Generally good at reasoning, planning, and problem-solving.

While intellect is inborn, intelligence is knowledge-based and can be more easily increased by expanding one’s knowledge and furthering one’s education. You can expand and grow your level of intelligence through academic studying, life experience, and exploration.

You may be genetically more likely to be intelligent. It’s quite possible that it’s in your DNA to be highly intelligent. An at-home DNA test from CircleDNA can reveal your genetic likelihood of being highly intelligent in your genetic success traits report.

Key Differences Between Intellect and Intelligence

Both intelligence and intellect reflect a person’s mental aptitude. Because of this, these terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably. There are some key differences between the intellect and intelligence, however. These differences will become very apparent when looking through the lens of what you may want in a partner.

Intellect Intelligence Similarities Between the Two
Cannot be measured.
Ability to comprehend complex and abstract matters.
Critical thinking abilities.


Can be measured.
Ability to acquire and apply both knowledge and skills.
Able to pick up new skills quickly and are fast learners.
Both are measures of a person’s mental abilities.
Both are related to analyzing and identifying complex ideas using rational thinking.
Both are often used to describe professionals in academia.

After taking a look at the key differences between intellect and intelligence, you should be able to determine which is the most desirable trait in a partner.

Intellect vs. Intelligence: Which is More Important?

You may not have to worry much about which is more important, since an intellectual generally is also quite intelligent. Generally speaking, you should go for the intellectual. This is because intelligent people aren’t always intellectual.

While everyone’s preferences in a romantic partner will vary depending on many different factors, we all want a partner that will push and challenge us throughout the relationship. Intelligence is a broad term used to describe a wide spectrum of individuals, but an intelligent person may not have the same capability to use reason and facts to make sound decisions as an intellect

An intelligent person is often driven by feelings and desires to expand their knowledge, whereas an intellectual uses facts to make calculated decisions based upon sound judgment.

An intelligent person also has the innate ability to adapt to new situations and learn new skills easily. In a life partner, this will make the trying times of your relationship much easier to navigate together. There will be more communication and teamwork in this relationship, with a lot more room to grow as a couple.

If you are an intelligent person, it might be frustrating to try to date someone who is not as intelligent. It’s also very important to date someone who not only has a good IQ, but also has high EQ which stands for emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence in relationships is of the utmost importance.

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