Fundamental to understanding the results of alloy design studies, is the need for understanding the intrinsic role of solutes in a particular compound. For many compounds such an understanding must be built from a systematic exploration of the role of deviations from the stoichiometric composition as well as the role of ternary solute additions on the variation of flow behavior. Within most intermetallic systems the problem is complicated since the fundamental mechanisms of flow are not well established and, in those systems where these mechanisms are known, thermal activation can lead to dislocation-core transformations and changes in the operative slip systems with temperature. In general, flow may be governed by more than one dislocation process at a given temperature and deformation twinning may be a major contributing deformation mechanism. The problem of isolating the mechanisms of solid-solution hardening may, therefore, require treatment as a problem of combined strengthening mechanisms operating in parallel. This paper reviews the key aspects of deformation mechanisms and solute strengthening in intermetallic alloys. Classical elastic theories of solute hardening serve as an origin, from which, the progress made to date in isolating the mechanisms of solute hardening in ordered alloys is discussed.