in·​ge·​nu·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-jə-ˈnü-ə-tē, -ˈnyü-\
plural ingenuities

Definition of ingenuity

1a : skill or cleverness in devising or combining : inventiveness
b : cleverness or aptness of design or contrivance
2 : an ingenious device or contrivance
3 obsolete : candor, ingenuousness

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ingenuity in a Sentence

She showed amazing ingenuity in finding ways to cut costs. It will take considerable ingenuity to fix these problems.

Recent Examples on the Web

The architects contracted to do the redesign decided that a conventional bridge would be an insult to the ingenuity of the Hollandic Water Line. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "Moses Bridge: The Netherlands' Bridge Under Troubled Water," 6 Aug. 2018 Contraband Ukrainian smokes are sold to the rest of Europe tax-free, generating huge profits and inspiring the kind of ingenuity seen with cocaine the U.S.-Mexico border. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "What’s With This Weird Drone Stuck in a Ukrainian Tree?," 6 Sep. 2018 Canals are needed to move coal, rails to move steam engines and pipelines to carry natural gas — and Rhodes reveals how each required more ingenuity than commonly appreciated to materialize. New York Times, "A History of the Energy We Have Consumed," 18 June 2018 The expo showcased 100 examples of student ingenuity, ranging from a solar-powered device that collects trash from waterways to a Formula One-style race car and other projects made with 3D printing. Julia Preszler,, "Recognition for immigrant entrepreneurs, an invention expo, and help with plumbing," 18 May 2018 Mike Brewster didn’t originally plan on posting copies of his résumé on the wall above the urinals in the highest trafficked men’s room at the American Football Coaches Association convention, but desperate times called for a little ingenuity. Andy Staples,, "Not Every Coaching Career Starts at a Urinal, but Most Have Equally Humble Beginnings," 19 Feb. 2018 At a Time Inc dinner in Hong Kong’s The Murray hotel on 11 January, Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde showed how good design and a little ingenuity can help keep our burgeoning megacities from killing us. Debbie Yong, Fortune, "Sustainability, Restoration On The Table At Brainstorm Design Hong Kong Lead-Up Dinner," 24 Jan. 2018 Idea #1: With a little ingenuity and some sharp clippers, basic bushes can become modern masterpieces. Sarah Bray, House Beautiful, "10 Breathtaking Gardens," 12 May 2014 His combination of energy, ingenuity and ruthlessness made for scintillating viewing throughout the Premier League season, after which he was named the league’s player of the year. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "Egypt Is ‘100 Percent’ Confident Salah Will Play," 14 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of ingenuity

circa 1592, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ingenuity

Dictionary Entries near ingenuity








Statistics for ingenuity

Last Updated

23 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ingenuity

The first known use of ingenuity was circa 1592

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ingenuity



English Language Learners Definition of ingenuity

: skill or cleverness that allows someone to solve problems, invent things, etc.

: a clever device or method


in·​ge·​nu·​ity | \ ˌin-jə-ˈnü-ə-tē, -ˈnyü-\
plural ingenuities

Kids Definition of ingenuity

: skill or cleverness in discovering, inventing, or planning

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ingenuity

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


means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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