sa·​vant | \ sa-ˈvänt How to pronounce savant (audio) , sə-, -ˈväⁿ; sə-ˈvant, ˈsa-vənt\

Definition of savant

1 : a person of learning especially : one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature)
2 : a person affected with a developmental disorder (such as autism or intellectual disability) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (such as mathematics or music) especially : autistic savant — see also savant syndrome

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Synonyms for savant


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Did You Know?

Savant comes from Latin sapere ("to be wise") by way of Middle French, where "savant" is the present participle of savoir, meaning "to know." "Savant" shares roots with the English words "sapient" ("possessing great wisdom") and "sage" ("having or showing wisdom through reflection and experience"). The term is sometimes used in common parlance to refer to a person who demonstrates extraordinary knowledge in a particular subject, or an extraordinary ability to perform a particular task (such as complex arithmetic), but who has much more limited capacities in other areas.

Examples of savant in a Sentence

a savant in the field of medical ethics
Recent Examples on the Web Going back to his playing days, Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been a sign-stealing savant., "Sign stealing is a part of baseball — but some lines should never be crossed," 18 Oct. 2019 Martin Shkreli burst on the scene as an enfant terrible, a securities savant who was working on Wall Street at 17, set up his own hedge fund at 23, and launched the biotech company Retrophin after teaching himself biology. Patricia Hurtad,, "Martin Shkreli's journey from pharma exec to Inmate #87850-053," 8 Mar. 2018 But even if the public considered him foolish for having turned away from the series, the decade following Chappelle’s departure also saw him being heralded as a sociocultural savant. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Dave Chappelle Doubles Down," 28 Aug. 2019 Dubas landed the Leafs GM job in large part because he is considered a numbers wiz, an analytics savant. Kevin Paul Dupont,, "Looking at the legacy of Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs," 7 Sep. 2019 Pat Forde of Yahoo: What on earth has happened to offensive savants such as Chip Kelly, Kevin Sumlin and Gus Malzahn? oregonlive, "The Pac-12′s playoff chances can be summed up in three words ... slim and none: Issues & Answers," 4 Sep. 2019 For market watchers and finance industry savants, Greenspan was a human koan upon which they were expected to puzzle out their own economic enlightenment. Elizabeth Spiers, The New Republic, "Beyond Pelosi," 24 July 2019 There are examples of elite athletes, like tennis star Rafael Nadal and baseball hitting savant Ichiro Suzuki, who were pushed by relatives to play left-handed to gain a competitive advantage. Sam Fortier,, "Why aren’t there any left-handed quarterbacks in the NFL?," 15 Aug. 2019 Dave Walker was his first pitching coach, an engineering savant from the oil business in eastern Kentucky who had a knack for unpacking the way things worked, including Verlander. Tom Verducci,, "Walker Buehler Has the Arm, Arsenal and Attitude to Be a Star," 13 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'savant.' 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 savant

1719, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for savant

French, from Middle French, from present participle of savoir to know, from Latin sapere to be wise — more at sage

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Statistics for savant

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for savant

The first known use of savant was in 1719

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More Definitions for savant


sa·​vant | \ sa-ˈvänt, sə-, -ˈvant How to pronounce savant (audio) \

Medical Definition of savant

: a person affected with a developmental disorder (as autism or intellectual disability) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (as mathematics or music) especially : autistic savant — see savant syndrome

More from Merriam-Webster on savant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for savant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with savant

Nglish: Translation of savant for Spanish Speakers

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