adjective in·ge·nious \ in-ˈjēn-yəs \
|Updated on: 21 Aug 2018

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





Examples of ingenious in a Sentence

  1. How many dog-size bathrobes (an ingenious device) are out there? —David ColmanVogueApril 2001
  2. … 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 System1999
  3. … an ingenious method of checking errors … —W. David GardnerDatamationJune 1982
  4. The book has an ingenious plot.

  5. She was ingenious at finding ways to work more quickly.

  6. It was ingenious of him to arrange the schedule so precisely.

Recent Examples of ingenious from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of ingenious

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

INGENIOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of ingenious for English Language Learners

  • : very smart or clever : having or showing ingenuity

INGENIOUS Defined for Kids


adjective in·ge·nious \ in-ˈjēn-yəs \

Definition of ingenious for Students

: showing ingenuity : clever
  • an ingenious idea



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