savant

noun

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

Did you know?

Word-loving Homo sapiens will appreciate how much there is to know about savant. For one, savant comes ultimately from the Latin word sapere (“to be wise”) by way of Middle French, where savant is the present participle of savoir, meaning “to know.” Second, savant shares roots with the English words sapient (“possessing great wisdom”) and sage (“very wise”) (as well as Homo sapiens). Finally, the term is sometimes used to refer to a person who demonstrates extraordinary knowledge in a particular subject or has an extraordinary ability to perform a particular task (such as complex mathematics) but has 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 Bird was a skilled hardcourt savant from Indiana State. Kyle Hightower, Fortune, 13 May 2024 Local savants will find more than 200 varietals to try, many of which rate 90-plus points on Wine Spectator’s 100-point rating scale. Tiney Ricciardi, The Denver Post, 9 May 2024 Doncic, Dallas’ offensive savant, dropped 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 3 Apr. 2024 Instead, he’s merely elevated into a more stylish and modern style savant. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 5 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for savant 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'savant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1719, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of savant was in 1719

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Dictionary Entries Near savant

Cite this Entry

“Savant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/savant. Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

savant

noun
sa·​vant sa-ˈvänt How to pronounce savant (audio)
-ˈvän;
sə-ˈvant,
ˈsav-ənt
1
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)
Etymology

from French savant, a form of the verb savoir "to know," from Latin sapere "to be wise, taste, have good taste" — related to insipid, sage entry 1

Medical Definition

savant

noun
: 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

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