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 And Donaldson, one of the game’s original modern hitting savants, will be their beacon. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Twins add bruiser to Bomba Squad in Josh Donaldson: 'It's like he's in a heavyweight fight'," 19 Feb. 2020 Blue Ivy is proving to be somewhat of a sports savant. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Jay-Z assists as daughter Blue Ivy Carter gets starstruck during sweet encounter with LeBron James," 10 Mar. 2020 But what of another rara avis: the horticultural savant? New York Times, "A Garden Grows in Somerset," 12 Mar. 2020 For the self-care savant: Kiehl's men's skincare starter set Skincare can be confusing. Sara Hendricks, USA TODAY, "The 25 best gifts for teenage boys of 2019," 22 Oct. 2019 Taylor comes from the McVay coaching tree, with the expectation of being an offensive savant. oregonlive, "5 reasons why Justin Herbert should frown if the Cincinnati Bengals select him in the 2020 NFL draft," 10 Apr. 2020 Cohn's biography is equally fascinating as a legal savant, someone who graduated law school at the age of 20, began his public life pushing for the death penalty in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and found power as McCarthy's right hand. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Where's My Roy Cohn?' profiles notorious lawyer with Trump ties," 19 Sep. 2019 When Dombrowski somehow pried Andrew Cashner from the cunning Orioles (28-65) last Saturday, Boston’s team builder was celebrated as the most astute baseball savant since Branch Rickey. Dan Shaughnessy,, "Andrew Cashner’s debut just more of the same," 16 July 2019 Watch a highlight reel of the European star below: A prodigious playmaker and basketball savant, Doncic will be the most accomplished player in the draft bar none. Scooby Axson,, "NBA Draft Prospects 2018: Luka Doncic Highlights, Scouting Report, Stats," 15 May 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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Time Traveler for savant

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The first known use of savant was in 1719

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Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Savant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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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

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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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