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adjective in·ge·nious \in-ˈjēn-yəs\

Simple Definition of ingenious

  • : very smart or clever : having or showing ingenuity

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ingenious

  1. 1 obsolete :  showing or calling for intelligence, aptitude, or discernment

  2. 2 :  having or showing an unusual aptitude for discovering, inventing, or contriving <an ingenious detective>

  3. 3 :  marked by originality, resourcefulness, and cleverness in conception or execution <an ingenious contraption>

ingeniously adverb
ingeniousness noun

Examples of ingenious in a sentence

  1. How many dog-size bathrobes (an ingenious device) are out there? —David Colman, Vogue, April 2001

  2. … spacecraft engineers tried to come up with ways to “unstick” the antenna. Those attempts failed, but by ingenious software and mission-sequencing techniques … the Galileo mission was still able to fulfill nearly all of its scientific requirements and return a rich quantity of scientific data … —Louis Friedman et al., Encyclopedia of the Solar System, 1999

  3. … an ingenious method of checking errors … —W. David Gardner, Datamation, June 1982

  4. The book has an ingenious plot.

  5. She was ingenious at finding ways to work more quickly.

  6. It was ingenious of him to arrange the schedule so precisely.

Origin of ingenious

Middle English ingenyous, from Middle French ingenieus, from Latin ingeniosus, from ingenium natural capacity — more at engine

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of ingenious

clever, adroit, cunning, ingenious mean having or showing practical wit or skill in contriving. clever stresses physical or mental quickness, deftness, or great aptitude <a person clever with horses>. adroit often implies a skillful use of expedients to achieve one's purpose in spite of difficulties <an adroit negotiator>. cunning implies great skill in constructing or creating <a filmmaker cunning in his use of special effects>. ingenious suggests the power of inventing or discovering a new way of accomplishing something <an ingenious software engineer>.

INGENIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective in·ge·nious \in-ˈjēn-yəs\

Definition of ingenious for Students

  1. :  showing ingenuity :  clever <an ingenious idea>

ingeniously adverb

Seen and Heard

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


expressing little or no emotion

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