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, 29 Apr. 2020 On the one hand, this understanding of AI as an idiot savant is perfectly sensible. James Vincent, The Verge, 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, 7 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'idiot savant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

French, literally, learned idiot

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of idiot savant was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near idiot savant

Cite this Entry

“Idiot savant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idiot%20savant. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

plural idiots savants -ˌdyō-sä-ˈväⁿ(z); -əts-sə-ˈvänt(s), -ˈvant(s) How to pronounce idiot savant (audio) or idiot savants
dated, now offensive : savant

More from Merriam-Webster on idiot savant

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!