1a. of or relating to the brain or the intellect;
b. of, relating to, affecting, or being the cerebrum;
2a. appealing to intellectual appreciation;
b. primarily intellectual in nature.

1. The movie is a cerebral thriller that rewards the viewer’s careful attention with intricate plot turns.
2. “When Beadles was at Utah, he played left tackle. At Denver, he’s moved inside as a guard. But he still plays with the same cerebral approach that has helped build a fine career with the Broncos.” — From an article by Gordon Monson in the Salt Lake Tribune, January 25, 2014.

English borrowed its word “cerebrum” directly from the Latin word for “brain,” but the adjective “cerebral” took a slightly more circuitous route into our language, reaching English by way of French “cerebral.” “Cerebrum” has been used in our language as a name for the brain since the early 1600s, though the more specific scientific sense, referring just to the large upper part of the brain, didn’t develop until later. “Cerebral” has been appearing in print in English since at least 1816. Other brainy descendants of “cerebrum” in English include “cerebellum” (the part of the brain between the brain stem and the back of the cerebrum) and “cerebrate,” which arrived in English in 1915 with the meaning “to use the mind” or “to think.”


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