Word of the Day : March 21, 2011

savant

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noun sa-VANT

Definition

: a person of learning; especially : one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature)

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

Since she knew that Brad was a savant when it came to cars, Millicent sought his advice on which of the year’s new models she should test-drive.

"It takes a certain type of savant to attend a Pink Floyd tribute show and audit every note, tempo, timbre, and sibilance. It takes an even more maniacal enthusiast to confirm which songs would have been embellished into improvisational sub-genres, and for how long." -- From a blog post by Ryan Carey on the web site of the Philadelphia City Paper, February 8, 2011



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "enigmatic," our Word of the Day from March 2, 2011? The answer is ...


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