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 mental disability (such as autism or mental retardation) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (such as mathematics or music); especially : autistic savant
Examples of savant in a sentence
<a savant in the field of medical ethics>
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.
Origin and Etymology of savant
French, from Medieval French, from present participle of savoir to know, from Latin sapere to be wise — more at sage
First Known Use: 1719
SAVANT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of savant for English Language Learners
: a person who knows a lot about a particular subject
: a person who does not have normal intelligence but who has very unusual mental abilities that other people do not have
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up savant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).