Thesaurus

genius

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of genius

1 a very smart person
  • the 16-year-old college graduate was considered to be a genius

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2 a special and usually inborn ability
  • had a genius for remembering long strings of numbers
  • had a genius for saying the wrong thing, no matter what the social situation

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4 the set of qualities that makes a person, a group of people, or a thing different from others
  • putting the needs of the individual before those of society is alien to the genius of the Japanese people

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5 a visible representation of something abstract (as a quality)
  • the giant tortoise would seem to be the very genius of the unfathomable ancientness that one associates with the Galápagos Islands

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Frequently Asked Questions About genius

How does the noun genius differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of genius are aptitude, bent, faculty, gift, knack, and talent. While all these words mean "a special ability for doing something," genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability.

has no great genius for poetry

When is aptitude a more appropriate choice than genius?

The words aptitude and genius are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, aptitude implies a natural liking for some activity and the likelihood of success in it.

a mechanical aptitude

How do bent and aptitude relate to one another, in the sense of genius?

Bent is nearly equal to aptitude but it stresses inclination perhaps more than specific ability.

a family with an artistic bent

Where would faculty be a reasonable alternative to genius?

While the synonyms faculty and genius are close in meaning, faculty applies to an innate or less often acquired ability for a particular accomplishment or function.

a faculty for remembering names

When would gift be a good substitute for genius?

While in some cases nearly identical to genius, gift often implies special favor by God or nature.

the gift of singing beautifully

When is it sensible to use knack instead of genius?

The meanings of knack and genius largely overlap; however, knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance.

the knack of getting along

When could talent be used to replace genius?

The words talent and genius can be used in similar contexts, but talent suggests a marked natural ability that needs to be developed.

has enough talent to succeed

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Time Traveler for genius

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The first known use of genius was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Genius.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/genius. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on genius

Dictionary: Definition of genius

Medical Dictionary: Definition of genius

Nglish: Translation of genius for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of genius for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about genius

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