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

Synonyms for savant


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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 With roles at brands such as Sony and Facebook on her résumé, Randolph is something of an advertising and business-development savant. Jordan Ligons, Essence, 26 June 2022 And the current crop of Dominicans, from legacy talents like Vladimir Guerrero and Fernando Tatis, a generational hitting savant like Juan Soto and dynamic stars such as Ronald Acuña Jr. ensure that this group stands up to any. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 The prolific singer, songwriter, arranger and composer was a musical savant that played several instruments. Essence, 19 May 2022 Mark Riddell, a standardized test-taking savant, was paid to either ace SATs and ACTs in students' place, or correct the students' answers before they were handed in, prosecutors said. Jason Hanna, CNN, 8 Apr. 2022 Beating the Hawks starts with containing two-time All-Star point guard Trae Young -- a pick-and-roll savant who ranked sixth in scoring and third in assists this season. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 14 Apr. 2022 The test-taking savant who helped rich kids cheat their way into elite colleges was sentenced Friday. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 9 Apr. 2022 The Dallas Mavericks’ young savant shredded the Cavaliers’ undermanned defense, leading the Mavericks to a 120-112 win in the finale of Cleveland’s three-game homestand. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 30 Mar. 2022 An artistic savant of wide erudition, Terry had written reviews and other pieces for our books and arts pages as long ago as 1987. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near savant

savanna woodland


savant syndrome

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Statistics for savant

Last Updated

7 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Savant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on savant

Nglish: Translation of savant for Spanish Speakers


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