If I want to describe someone who has a great mind, or great mentality, describing him as a mental giant doesn't just seem right. Even though there isn't a comma between mental & giant, it may be misunderstood as calling someone mental & a giant.

Is there a better adjective which can be used here?

  • 1
    "Mental giant" is understood to be referring to exceptional intelligence, but the problem is the expression is often used sarcastically. So I would not use it, but not for the reason you gave.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 4:27
  • 1
    Intellectual giant? Commented Dec 23, 2019 at 9:06
  • Creative shouldn't be a bad option.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 2:51
  • But, are the words, mental giant, or intellectual always positive? Even 'creative' is not. Since '...without negative connotations' is quite relative, it may be difficult to answer too.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


Alternatives for mental in the sense of relating to the brain and mental capabilities would include:

  • an intellectual giant
  • a cognitive giant (this is a bit weird)
  • a cerebral giant

but you're probably better of going with the other suggestions and ditching giant for something that better matches what you're aiming at.

  • I like Cerebral Giant.
    – user93353
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 4:39

Seems to me the problem is the noun "giant." If you're emphasizing the mental capability, then make that concept the noun and modify accordingly. Some examples:

  • Brilliant mind (simple phasing, often the best way to go)
  • Gigantic brain (adhering to the original as much as possible)
  • Deep intellect (similar to "towering intellect," a cliché, which can be understood as sarcastic)
  • Cognitive wizard (emphasizes the magical)
  • Perspicacious frontal lobe (ok, now I've gone too far)

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