in·​ge·​nious | \ in-ˈjēn-yəs How to pronounce ingenious (audio) \

Definition of ingenious

1 : having or showing an unusual aptitude for discovering, inventing, or contriving an ingenious detective
2 : marked by originality, resourcefulness, and cleverness in conception or execution an ingenious contraption
3 obsolete : showing or calling for intelligence, aptitude, or discernment

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Other Words from ingenious

ingeniously adverb
ingeniousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ingenious

clever, adroit, cunning, ingenious mean having or showing practical wit or skill in contriving. clever stresses physical or mental quickness, deftness, or great aptitude. a person clever with horses adroit often implies a skillful use of expedients to achieve one's purpose in spite of difficulties. an adroit negotiator cunning implies great skill in constructing or creating. a filmmaker cunning in his use of special effects ingenious suggests the power of inventing or discovering a new way of accomplishing something. an ingenious software engineer

Examples of ingenious in a Sentence

How many dog-size bathrobes (an ingenious device) are out there? — David Colman, Vogue, April 2001 … spacecraft engineers tried to come up with ways to "unstick" the antenna. Those attempts failed, but by ingenious software and mission-sequencing techniques … the Galileo mission was still able to fulfill nearly all of its scientific requirements and return a rich quantity of scientific data … — Louis Friedman et al., Encyclopedia of the Solar System, 1999 … an ingenious method of checking errors … — W. David Gardner, Datamation, June 1982 The book has an ingenious plot. She was ingenious at finding ways to work more quickly. It was ingenious of him to arrange the schedule so precisely.
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Recent Examples on the Web Their first advertisement cost a mere $4,500, but this engaging ad, coupled with their ingenious idea for inexpensive monthly subscription boxes, gave their brand near-instant global recognition. Henric Larsson, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 Many promise simple and delicious recipes or seemingly ingenious kitchen hacks. Washington Post, 23 July 2021 It’s a feat helped along by a simple but ingenious set design by Allen Moyer, which uses a massive square structure as both setting and frame, moving us through Charles’s memories and delving into his psyche. Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2021 Frankly, the Showtime drama remains fun but feels a little played out in this fifth season, perhaps because there's only so much betrayal and counter-betrayal and ingenious high-stakes financial double-crossing that one show can comfortably handle. Brian Lowry, CNN, 4 Sep. 2021 Rorem’s is a simple and ingenious song — which allows Price to float a high pianissimo, at the end, forever. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 1 Sep. 2021 Like the best pies, Poncelet's Pop Tarts ($5) are beautiful, ingenious and delicious. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, 16 July 2021 Though Twitter launched exactly 15 years ago today, with the goal of changing how—and how quickly—people communicate online, the ingenious use of the platform by Black users can be traced, in a way, much further back in time. Jason Parham, Wired, 15 July 2021 These ingenious and bewitching sculptures consist of cases holding eerie wax casts of female faces. New York Times, 8 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ingenious.' 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 ingenious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for ingenious

Middle English ingenyous, from Middle French ingenieus, from Latin ingeniosus, from ingenium natural capacity — more at engine entry 1

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The first known use of ingenious was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ingenious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for ingenious



English Language Learners Definition of ingenious

: very smart or clever : having or showing ingenuity


in·​ge·​nious | \ in-ˈjēn-yəs How to pronounce ingenious (audio) \

Kids Definition of ingenious

: showing ingenuity : clever an ingenious idea

Other Words from ingenious

ingeniously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ingenious

Nglish: Translation of ingenious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ingenious for Arabic Speakers


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