The word intellectual means to appeal or engage the intellect. An intellectual person shows a high degree of mental capacity. Intellectuals rely on their intellect rather than relying on their feelings or emotions.
Generally, intellectuals pursue things that interest them intellectually, and they often pursue complex forms of knowledge. On a general or abstract level, intellectuals have an interest in aesthetic or philosophical matters. Individuals with superior intellect will often have very developed tastes in subjects like art and literature.
The word intellectual comes from the late 14th-century Latin word "intellectualis" that comes from "intellectus," which means "discernment or understanding."