Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

genius

play
noun, ge·nius \ˈjēn-yəs, ˈjē-nē-əs\

Simple Definition of genius

  • : a very smart or talented person : a person who has a level of talent or intelligence that is very rare or remarkable

  • : a person who is very good at doing something

  • : great natural ability : remarkable talent or intelligence

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of genius

plural geniuses or genii play \-nē-ˌī\

  1. 1 a plural genii :  an attendant spirit of a person or place b plural usually genii :  a person who influences another for good or bad

  2. 2 :  a strong leaning or inclination :  penchant

  3. 3 a :  a peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character or spirit b :  the associations and traditions of a place c :  a personification or embodiment especially of a quality or condition

  4. 4 plural usually genii :  spirit, jinni

  5. 5 plural usually geniuses a :  a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude <had a genius for getting along with boys — Mary Ross> b :  extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity c :  a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially :  a person with a very high IQ

Examples of genius in a sentence

  1. Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were great scientific geniuses.

  2. You don't have to be a genius to see that this plan will never work.

  3. He was a genius at handling the press.

  4. She's now widely recognized as an artist of genius.

  5. He's admired for his comic genius.

  6. My plan is simple—that's the genius of it.

  7. The genius of these new computers is their portability.



Did You Know?

The belief system of the ancient Romans included spirits that were somewhere in between gods and humans and were thought to accompany each person through life as a protector. The Latin name for this spirit was "genius," which came from the verb gignere, meaning "to beget." This sense of "attendant spirit" was first borrowed into English in the early 16th century. Part of such a spirit's role was to protect a person's moral character, and from that idea an extended sense developed in the 16th century meaning "an identifying character." In time, that meaning was extended to cover a special ability for doing something, and eventually "genius" acquired senses referring particularly to "very great intelligence" and "people of great intelligence."

Origin of genius

Latin, tutelary spirit, natural inclinations, from gignere to beget


First Known Use: 1513

Synonym Discussion of genius

gift, faculty, aptitude, bent, talent, genius, knack mean a special ability for doing something. gift often implies special favor by God or nature <the gift of singing beautifully>. faculty applies to an innate or less often acquired ability for a particular accomplishment or function <a faculty for remembering names>. aptitude implies a natural liking for some activity and the likelihood of success in it <a mechanical aptitude>. bent is nearly equal to aptitude but it stresses inclination perhaps more than specific ability <a family with an artistic bent>. talent suggests a marked natural ability that needs to be developed <has enough talent to succeed>. genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability <has no great genius for poetry>. knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance <the knack of getting along>.


GENIUS Defined for Kids

genius

play
noun ge·nius \ˈjēn-yəs\

Definition of genius for Students

  1. 1 :  a very smart or gifted person

  2. 2 :  great natural ability <He has artistic genius.>

  3. 3 :  a very clever or smart quality <The lads came … chattering all the time about Tom's stupendous plan and admiring the genius of it. — Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer>




Medical Dictionary

genius

play
noun ge·nius \ˈjē-nyəs, -nē-əs\

Medical Definition of genius

plural geniuses or genii \-nē-ˌī\play

  1. 1:  extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity

  2. 2:  a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; specifically :  a person with a very high IQ





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up genius? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tending to dismiss important matters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce perplex disapprove
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ