1 : a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude
2 : extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity
3 : a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially : a person with a very high IQ
Did You Know?
The belief system of the ancient Romans included spirits that were somewhere in between gods and humans and were thought to accompany each person through life as a protector. The Latin name for this spirit was genius, which came from the verb gignere, meaning "to beget." This sense of "attendant spirit" was first borrowed into English in the 14th century. Part of such a spirit's role was to protect a person's moral character, and from that idea an extended sense developed in the 16th century meaning "an identifying character." In time, that meaning was extended to cover a special ability for doing something, and eventually genius acquired senses referring particularly to "very great intelligence" and "people of great intelligence."
"An airplane mechanic in World War II, my father had a genius for anything mechanical. He would overhaul an engine at the drop of a hat." — Jack McCall, The Hartsville (Tennessee) Vidette, 28 Apr. 2016
"By the time Purple Rain was released, Prince's overt sexiness, inventive style, technical brilliance, and musical genius had established an irrefutable fact: He was the new James Brown." — Simon Doonan, Slate.com, 26 Apr. 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete a 2-word term that refers to natural wit or intelligence: m _ t _ _ r wit.VIEW THE ANSWER
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