Intelligence is your ability to comprehend something, like calculus or why plants grow toward the sun.

Intelligence comes from the Latin word intelligere, "to understand," which makes sense because it refers to someone's ability to understand things. Your intelligence helps you pass math class and learn French. It means smarts — what you need at least some of to get through school. Intelligence has an exciting double life: it also refers to what spies are trying to get — information from the enemy. You can be born with it, or acquire it, especially if you're in the CIA.

Primary Meanings of intelligence

the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience
secret information about an enemy (or potential enemy)
Full Definitions of intelligence

n the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience

a poor ability to understand or to profit from experience
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brain, brainpower, learning ability, mental capacity, mentality, wit
mental ability
breadth, comprehensiveness, largeness
the capacity to understand a broad range of topics
intellect, mind
knowledge and intellectual ability
nonverbal intelligence
intelligence that is manifested in the performance of tasks requiring little or no use of language
verbal intelligence
intelligence in the use and comprehension of language
mental quickness, quick-wittedness, quickness
intelligence as revealed by an ability to give correct responses without delay
mental dexterity, nimbleness
intelligence as revealed by quickness and alertness of mind
brilliance, genius
unusual mental ability
precociousness, precocity
intelligence achieved far ahead of normal developmental schedules
acuity, acuteness, keenness, sharpness
a quick and penetrating intelligence
brightness, cleverness, smartness
intelligence as manifested in being quick and witty
astuteness, perspicaciousness, perspicacity, shrewdness
intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings)
marbles, wits
the basic human power of intelligent thought and perception
capaciousness, roominess
intellectual breadth
a sudden or striking display of brilliance
(music) brilliance of display (as in the performance of music)
a brilliant display of wit
steel trap
an acute intelligence (an analogy based on the well-known sharpness of steel traps)
craft, craftiness, cunning, foxiness, guile, slyness, wiliness
shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
acumen, insightfulness
shrewdness shown by keen insight
shrewdness demonstrated by knowledge
street smarts
a shrewd ability to survive in a dangerous urban environment
Type of:
ability, power
possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done

n secret information about an enemy (or potential enemy)

“we sent out planes to gather intelligence on their radar coverage”
intelligence information
military intelligence
information about the armed forces of another country that is useful in planning and conducting military policy or military operations
Type of:
info, information
a message received and understood

n information about recent and important events

news, tidings, word
good word
good news
the most recent news or development
news that updates your information
Type of:
info, information
a message received and understood

n a unit responsible for gathering and interpreting information about an enemy

intelligence agency, intelligence service
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military intelligence, military intelligence agency
an agency of the armed forces that obtains and analyzes and uses information of strategic or tactical military value
United States intelligence agency
an intelligence service in the United States
IC, Intelligence Community, National Intelligence Community, United States Intelligence Community
a group of government agencies and organizations that carry out intelligence activities for the United States government; headed by the Director of Central Intelligence
international intelligence agency
an intelligence agency outside the United States
CIA, Central Intelligence Agency
an independent agency of the United States government responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence and counterintelligence activities abroad in the national interest; headed by the Director of Central Intelligence under the supervision of the President and National Security Council
DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency
an intelligence agency of the United States in the Department of Defense; is responsible for providing intelligence in support of military planning and operations and weapons acquisition
CSIS, Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Canada's main foreign intelligence agency that gathers and analyzes information to provide security intelligence for the Canadian government
CIM, Central Intelligence Machinery
the United Kingdom's central unit for the tasking and coordination and funding of intelligence and security agencies
CSE, Communications Security Establishment
Canadian agency that gathers communications intelligence and assist law enforcement and security agencies
CISC, Criminal Intelligence Services of Canada
an agency of the Canadian government that unifies the intelligence units of Canadian law enforcement agencies
Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI, Inter-Services Intelligence
the Pakistan intelligence agency; a powerful and almost autonomous political and military force; has procured nuclear technology and delivery capabilities; has had strong ties with the Taliban and other militant Islamic groups
Foreign Intelligence Service, SVR, Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki
Russia's intelligence service responsible for foreign operations, intelligence-gathering and analysis, and the exchange of intelligence information; collaborates with other countries to oppose proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and organized crime
ISN, International Relations and Security Network
Switzerland's information network for security and defense studies and for peace and conflict research and for international relations
IIS, Iraqi Intelligence Service, Iraqi Mukhabarat
the most notorious and possibly the most important arm of Iraq's security system
the Israeli military intelligence which produces comprehensive national intelligence briefings for the prime minister and the cabinet
the Israeli foreign intelligence agency
MI, Military Intelligence Section 6, Secret Intelligence Service
the government agency in the United Kingdom that is responsible for internal security and counterintelligence overseas
SIRC, Security Intelligence Review Committee
an agency of the Canadian government that oversees the activities of the Criminal Intelligence Services of Canada and has the power to intrude on the privacy of suspected terrorists or spies
MI, Military Intelligence Section 5, Security Service
the government agency in the United Kingdom that is responsible for internal security and counterintelligence on British territory
General Security Services, Shin Bet
the Israeli domestic counterintelligence and internal security agency
NRO, National Reconnaissance Office
an intelligence agency in the United States Department of Defense that designs and builds and operates space reconnaissance systems to detect trouble spots worldwide and to monitor arms control agreements and environmental issues and to help plan military operations
NSA, National Security Agency
the United States cryptologic organization that coordinates and directs highly specialized activities to protect United States information systems and to produce foreign intelligence information
SS, Secret Service, US Secret Service, USSS, United States Secret Service
the United States intelligence agency that protects current and former presidents and vice presidents and their immediate families and protects distinguished foreign visitors; detects and apprehends counterfeiters; suppresses forgery of government securities and documents
Type of:
administrative body, administrative unit
a unit with administrative responsibilities

n the operation of gathering information about an enemy

intelligence activity, intelligence operation
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spying, undercover work
the act of keeping a secret watch for intelligence purposes
current intelligence
intelligence of all types and forms of immediate interest; usually disseminated without delays for evaluation or interpretation
combat intelligence, tactical intelligence
intelligence that is required for the planning and conduct of tactical operations
strategic intelligence
intelligence that is required for forming policy and military plans at national and international levels
SIGINT, signals intelligence
intelligence information gathered from communications intelligence or electronics intelligence or telemetry intelligence
clandestine operation
an intelligence operation so planned and executed as to insure concealment
overt operation
the collection of intelligence openly without concealment
reconnaissance, reconnaissance mission
the act of reconnoitring (especially to gain information about an enemy or potential enemy)
intelligence activities concerned with identifying and counteracting the threat to security posed by hostile intelligence organizations or by individuals engaged in espionage or sabotage or subversion or terrorism
the systematic use of spies to get military or political secrets
spying on the spies
security intelligence
intelligence on the identity and capability and intentions of hostile individuals or organizations that may be engaged in espionage or sabotage or subversion or terrorism
censoring, censorship, security review
counterintelligence achieved by banning or deleting any information of value to the enemy
terrain intelligence
tactical intelligence on the natural and man-made characteristics of an area
ELINT, electronics intelligence
intelligence derived from electromagnetic radiations from foreign sources (other than radioactive sources)
COMINT, communications intelligence
technical and intelligence information derived from foreign communications by other than the intended recipients
TELINT, telemetry intelligence
intelligence derived from the interception and processing and analysis of foreign telemetry
exfiltration operation
a clandestine rescue operation to bring a defector or refugee or an operative and family out of danger
recce, recco, reccy
reconnaissance (by shortening)
exploratory survey, reconnoitering, reconnoitring, scouting
exploring in order to gain information
air reconnaissance
reconnaissance either by visual observation from the air or through the use of airborne sensors
reconnaissance by fire
a method of reconnaissance in which fire is placed on a suspected enemy position in order to cause the enemy to disclose his presence by moving or returning fire
reconnaissance in force
an offensive operation designed to discover or test the enemy's strength (or to obtain other information)
a quick look around (originally military slang)
electronic reconnaissance
the detection and identification and evaluation and location of foreign electromagnetic radiations (other than radioactive)
the aspect of counterintelligence designed to detect and prevent subversive activities
counterintelligence designed to detect and counteract sabotage
Type of:
information gathering
the act of collecting information

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