poly·​math ˈpä-lē-ˌmath How to pronounce polymath (audio)
: a person of encyclopedic learning
polymath adjective
or polymathic

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The musical polymath Josh Tillman, better known as his stage alter ego, Father John Misty, has made a name for himself as the most polarizing (and possibly most talented) man in the contemporary folk rock scene. Time, 20 Nov. 2022 The Oscar-winning pop-culture polymath has found inspiration at the intersection of food and philanthropy. Town & Country, 26 Oct. 2022 In 1665—only a few years before Van Leeuwenhoek peered through his first lens—microscopes emerged into the public consciousness when the polymath Robert Hooke published his surprise bestseller Micrographia. WIRED, 27 Sep. 2022 The library’s voices likely also included librarians such as the polymath Eratosthenes and the poet Callimachus, who created the library’s catalog, as well as bands of scholars translating the Septuagint. David J. Davis, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2022 The Greek polymath Ptolemy, for example, noted red stars visible with the naked eye in his second-century treatise on astrology, but Betelgeuse was not included. James Riordon, Scientific American, 18 Aug. 2022 Glenn Sugameli has always enjoyed a short poem by Danish polymath Piet Hein (1905-1996). John Kelly, Washington Post, 26 June 2022 Clemmer was described as something of a polymath: his experience included starting software companies, designing helicopter systems, and renovating wooden boats. John Hilliard, BostonGlobe.com, 30 July 2022 The satellite, which was named after Omar Khayyam, a 11th Century Persian astronomer and polymath, has already started beaming data to Iran’s space agency, according to IRNA. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Greek polymathēs very learned, from poly- + manthanein to learn — more at mathematical

First Known Use

1621, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polymath was in 1621

Dictionary Entries Near polymath

Cite this Entry

“Polymath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polymath. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on polymath

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.