I use 'great' too many times, I would need something more lively and original. I have a sentence like this:

In order to acquire this, one does not need a great intellect, nor a ... education Thank you!

  • Super-intellect; lexico.com/definition/superintelligent; and from the usage 'highly educated', I think high education should also sound OK. May be, others can say better ones.
    – Ram Pillai
    Dec 2, 2020 at 9:00
  • super-intellect is a bit colloquial for the language register I need. But high education is a good idea. Thanks a lot!
    – fev
    Dec 2, 2020 at 9:40
  • 1
    A strong intellect is a fairly common collocation. But this is essentially Off Topic "writing advice". Note that "strong intellect" doesn't necessarily imply "well-educated". Dec 2, 2020 at 11:30
  • Thank you, I like 'strong intellect'. The fact that I juxtapose 'strong intellect' and 'high (now I am tempted to put 'good') education' does not necessarily imply that they are synonyms does it... so now my sentence looks like that: In order to acquire this, one does not need a strong intellect, nor a good education.
    – fev
    Dec 2, 2020 at 13:59
  • 1
    Agree with FF (writing advice, also lack of research shown). But 'In order to acquire this, one does not need a vast / formidable intellect, nor a private / university / first-class / an excellent education (assuming attributive nouns are not for some reason inadmissible). Dec 7, 2020 at 17:38

5 Answers 5


In order to acquire this, one does not need a A intellect, nor a B education

A) powerful, strong, mighty, sharp

B) college, tertiary, academic, advanced, broad


you could say "higher intellect and superior education." Your sentence could look like this: In order to acquire this, one does not need a superior intellect, nor higher education.

  • Yeah, "superior" works for both.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 8, 2020 at 17:06

One strategy for adding originality to your adjective selection is to choose one that pertains to the quality that you're evoking. Great can attach to so many nouns and noun phrases. More verbose versions of great (like excellent) are more emphatic but no more specific. However, a word like sagacious pertains specifically to discernment:

2.a. Gifted with acuteness of mental discernment; having special aptitude for the discovery of truth; penetrating and judicious in the estimation of character and motives, and in the devising of means for the accomplishment of ends; shrewd. (OED)

So someone who has a sagacious intellect is shrewd and can likely plan out a large project. They are not likely to be fooled by appearances.

Whether that word works or not, you can use a search strategy of going between synonyms and near-synonyms in a thesaurus, seeking adjectives specific to mental faculties, in order to find the precise emphasis you want.


Consider incisive for intellect and extensive for education, as in:

... one does not need an incisive intellect, nor an extensive education

I personally like these choices for their alliteration. Examples of their usage in the wild below:

He embarked on a 90-minute discourse that showcased his incisive intellect, his rambling imagination, and his almost pathological attention to detail.
LA Times

Even to work in museum as a guide requires extensive education and training.
NY Times


"brilliant" seems like a good fit.
(one does not need a brilliant education)

  • outstanding, exceptional, splendid, magnificent: having or showing unusual and impressive intelligence: a brilliant mind; a brilliant solution to the problem.

. Bertrand Russell had a brilliant mind.

. Mozart showed his brilliance at an early age.

. To leave half and hour earlier was a brilliant idea.

. "the defective moral training of many persons in the upper classes who have had a brilliant education".¹

. "From 1833 to 1840 she received a brilliant education according to the ideas of the bourgeoisie." ²

  • You know, I actually like more impressive than anything that has been said here... Would brilliant apply to education?
    – fev
    Dec 9, 2020 at 19:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.