idiot savant

noun
idiot sa·​vant | \ ˈi-dē-ət-sə-ˈvänt How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) , -ˈvant How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) , ˈē-ˌdyō-sä-ˈväⁿ How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) \
plural idiots savants\ ˈi-​dē-​əts-​sə-​ˈvänt(s) How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) , -​ˈvant(s) How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) , ˈē-​ˌdyō-​sä-​ˈväⁿ(z) How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) \ or idiot savants\ ˈē-​ˌdyō-​sä-​ˈväⁿ(z) How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) \

Definition of idiot savant

1 dated, now offensive : savant sense 2
2 : a person who is highly knowledgeable about one subject but knows little about anything else

Examples of idiot savant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But while there’s a veneer of innocence to these home movies—an air of the idiot savant’s capacity to unwittingly capture a glimpse of profundity—their most powerful valence is not one of innocence but of self-effacing knowledge. Leslie Jamison, The New York Review of Books, "Other Voices, Other Rooms," 29 Apr. 2020 On the one hand, this understanding of AI as an idiot savant is perfectly sensible. James Vincent, The Verge, "Burger King’s ‘AI-written’ ads show we’re still very confused about artificial intelligence," 3 Oct. 2018 Similarly, Yang's character Jian Yang is portrayed as an idiot savant, a mostly silent character there for Erlich (T.J. Miller, who was fired from the show) to mock. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Actually, HBO's Silicon Valley Doesn't Have To Be So White," 7 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'idiot savant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of idiot savant

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for idiot savant

French, literally, learned idiot

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The first known use of idiot savant was in 1870

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Cite this Entry

“Idiot savant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idiot%20savant. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for idiot savant

idiot savant

noun
idiot sa·​vant | \ ˈē-ˌdyō-sä-ˈväⁿ; ˈid-ē-ət-sə-ˈvänt, -ˈvant How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) \
plural idiots savants\ -​ˌdyō-​sä-​ˈväⁿ(z); -​əts-​sə-​ˈvänt(s), -​ˈvant(s) How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) \ or idiot savants

Medical Definition of idiot savant

dated, now offensive : savant

More from Merriam-Webster on idiot savant

Nglish: Translation of idiot savant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about idiot savant

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