in·ge·nious | \in-ˈjēn-yəs \

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But beyond the nasty concoctions and Hannibal-like rites, our ancestors also came up with some surprisingly ingenious methods. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 The fact that Marcel the monkey is also under the illusion that 52 years of hurt are coming to an end shows how ingenious this meme is., "It's Coming Home: 6 of the Best England World Cup Memes of the Summer So Far," 11 July 2018 While living in South Africa, Stebin Horne, the founder of this Georgia company, designed an ingenious wood-burner ($499) consisting of a countertop-high metal fire pit surmounted by a vertical pole on which swivel a series of grates and planchas. Steven Raichlen, New York Times, "Cooking Over Wood: A Guide to the Grills," 29 June 2018 Due to restrictions on water usage, part of the overarching protocol by the government to conserve natural resources, Costa Ricans found an ingenious way to extract more flavor while reducing water. Lauren Mowery, USA TODAY, "Costa Rican coffee, from rural farms to Starbucks' visitor center," 26 June 2018 The immediate goal of the restrictions is to prod Hamas to abandon what has been an ingenious and, for Israel, exasperating tactic. New York Times, "Unable to Stop Flaming Kites, Israel Moves to Choke Off Gaza Commerce," 9 July 2018 Though not always persuasive, Nadel’s interpretations are ingenious, insightful, and illuminating. Glenn C. Altschuler,, "Alan Nadel's 'Demographic Angst': The dark anxieties behind 1950s films," 15 June 2018 Although legally ingenious, the E.U. stance is unlikely to hold water: The U.S. has explicitly invoked the national security exception — Section 232 of U.S. trade law. Krzysztof J. Pelc, Washington Post, "The U.S. broke a huge global trade taboo. Here’s why Trump’s move might be legal.," 7 June 2018 The overdriven rendition didn't pause for much detail and nuance, foregoing Mozart's ingenious, darker woodwind colorations in favor of determined ebullience. Rick Schultz,, "L.A. Chamber Orchestra musicians offer a fitting remembrance for one of their own," 22 May 2018

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.

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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

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28 Sep 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of ingenious

: very smart or clever : having or showing ingenuity


in·ge·nious | \in-ˈjēn-yəs \

Kids Definition of ingenious

: showing ingenuity : clever an ingenious idea

Other Words from ingenious

ingeniously adverb

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Comments on ingenious

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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