in·​ge·​nious | \ in-ˈjēn-yəs How to pronounce ingenious (audio) \

Definition of ingenious

1 : having or showing an unusual aptitude for discovering, inventing, or contriving an ingenious detective
2 : marked by originality, resourcefulness, and cleverness in conception or execution an ingenious contraption
3 obsolete : showing or calling for intelligence, aptitude, or discernment

Other Words from ingenious

ingeniously adverb
ingeniousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of ingenious in a Sentence

How many dog-size bathrobes (an ingenious device) are out there? — David Colman, Vogue, April 2001 … 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 … an ingenious method of checking errors … — W. David Gardner, Datamation, June 1982 The book has an ingenious plot. She was ingenious at finding ways to work more quickly. It was ingenious of him to arrange the schedule so precisely. See More
Recent Examples on the Web If Jakes’s landscapes don’t present philosophical or environmental parables, their ingenious compositions have a narrative flair. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 But lucky for them the ingenious Hattie Harmony, Worry Detective is on the case. Lauren Morgan,, 12 May 2022 For its part, the AT4X has added underbody protection, electronic locking front and rear diffs, greater suspension travel, and ingenious Multimatic spool-valve dampers that aren't offered on the regular AT4. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 10 May 2022 Negotiating two formidable mountain ranges required not just the construction of long, steep gradients, but ingenious civil engineering to gain height via spiral tunnels and giant leaps over isolated valleys in fiercely hot, rugged terrain. Ben Jones, CNN, 9 May 2022 But Deligne had wronged him through an ingenious piece of mathematics. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 Twelve museum workers toiled for four days, removing the ingenious wooden joints that had locked the icons to their frames, then carefully separating the giant panels into dozens of parts. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2022 Even more ingenious, the eye-catching, billowing roofs are not just for show. Justin Fenner, Robb Report, 30 Apr. 2022 In my old neighborhood, one of the major threats to girls were matatus: fourteen-seater minivans celebrated as an ingenious response to the city’s transit woes, but that present particular challenges for young women. Nanjala Nyabola, Vogue, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of ingenious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for ingenious

Middle English ingenyous, from Middle French ingenieus, from Latin ingeniosus, from ingenium natural capacity — more at engine entry 1

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The first known use of ingenious was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ingenious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ingenious


in·​ge·​nious | \ in-ˈjēn-yəs How to pronounce ingenious (audio) \

Kids Definition of ingenious

: showing ingenuity : clever an ingenious idea

Other Words from ingenious

ingeniously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ingenious

Nglish: Translation of ingenious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ingenious for Arabic Speakers


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