savant

noun
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

Synonyms

pundit, sage, scholar

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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

Ultimately, fashion eccentrics and relaxed streetwear savants coexisted beautifully in our survey of the streets in Tokyo. Vogue, "At Tokyo Fashion Week, Goths, Punks, and Skaters Ruled the Streets," 25 Mar. 2019 In addition to Rowe, Williams is a college basketball savant who has been with ESPN since 2011—is it too much to ask for either of them to get a promotion? Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Why Are Women Always on the Sidelines of Sports Reporting?," 18 Mar. 2019 Cleveland has slowed the pace nicely: LeBron really is a basketball savant. Benjamin Hoffman And Marc Stein, New York Times, "N.B.A. Finals: Warriors Survive Superman’s Best Punch in Game 1," 1 June 2018 For more info: USA Memory Championship - Finals to be held July 14 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge SAVANTS TRIPTYCH #2: The calendar savant George Widener is a calendar savant. CBS News, "This week on "Sunday Morning" (March 18)," 15 Mar. 2018 Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, his college teammate at North Carolina, remembers those days when Ackley was a hitting savant who inspired nothing but awe. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "‘I’m in a way better spot’: Back with Mariners on minor-league deal, Dustin Ackley is hopeful, and realistic," 20 Feb. 2019 But Barr doesn’t necessarily have to be an immigration savant himself to maintain the DOJ as Sessions led it: a force for legally aggressive tactics in the service of immigration hawkishness. Dara Lind, Vox, "William Barr hearing: attorney general nominee’s immigration record aligns with Trump’s," 16 Jan. 2019 Spiegel controls Snap, and is viewed by many as a product savant, so a lot of investors have kept hope that his product expertise would keep Snapchat going amid other turmoil. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Four reasons Snap’s stock price is at an all-time low," 16 Sep. 2018 Similar to Jackson, Bamba, the 6-11 Texas frosh, is a rim-running and shot blocking savant (a block rate of 13.2 percent) capable of defending at least three positions. Matthew Giles, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the top 50 prospects in the 2018 NBA draft," 19 June 2018

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

2 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for savant

The first known use of savant was in 1719

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More Definitions for savant

savant

noun
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on savant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with savant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for savant

Nglish: Translation of savant for Spanish Speakers

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