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

The next several months have much in store for Curry, a 31-year-old basketball savant who, after 10 seasons, is already thinking hard about life after basketball. New York Times, "Stephen Curry Finally Gets Some Rest (but Only From Basketball)," 21 June 2019 There’s an association with cluttered Victorian interiors and periwigged eighteenth-century savants, and perhaps there’s a fear of being likened to Jane Austen. Christopher Tayler, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 24 June 2019 Never before have so many savants—economists, political scientists, diplomats, sociologists, and commentators alike—been quite so stunned by the turn of events. Andrew Roberts, The New York Review of Books, "Ferdinand Mount," 6 June 2019 Five days later, player personnel savant Mike Arbuckle quit. Marcus Hayes, https://www.inquirer.com, "Losing Joe Douglas could haunt the Eagles like losing Mike Arbuckle haunts the Phillies | Marcus Hayes," 4 June 2019 As his website states, Kodi is a savant and has been playing piano and singing across the world for years. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'AGT' Star Kodi Lee Has an Unbelievably Inspiring Story You Need to Hear," 29 May 2019 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

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

11 Jul 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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