Definition of genius
1a plural genii : an attendant spirit of a person or placeb plural usually genii : a person who influences another for good or bad He has been accused of being his brother's evil genius.
2 : a strong leaning or inclination : penchant
3a : a peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character or spirit the genius of our democratic governmentb : the associations and traditions of a placec : a personification or embodiment especially of a quality or condition
5 plural usually geniuses a : a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude had a genius for getting along with boys — Mary Rossb : extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activityc : a person endowed with extraordinary mental superiority; especially : a person with a very high IQ
genius was our Word of the Day on 06/23/2016. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of genius in a Sentence
Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were great scientific geniuses.
You don't have to be a genius to see that this plan will never work.
He was a genius at handling the press.
She's now widely recognized as an artist of genius.
He's admired for his comic genius.
My plan is simple—that's the genius of it.
The genius of these new computers is their portability.
The Spiritual Origins of genius
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 14th 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 and Etymology of genius
Latin, tutelary spirit, natural inclinations, from gignere to beget
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of genius
GENIUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of genius for English Language Learners
: 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
GENIUS Defined for Kids
Definition of genius for Students
1 : a very smart or gifted person
2 : great natural ability He has artistic genius.
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
Seen and Heard
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