Meaning of savant in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsavnt/

See synonyms for savant

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  • 1A very learned or talented person, especially one distinguished in a particular field of science or the arts.

    ‘he portrayed himself as a savant and a genius’
    • ‘Gigerenzer seems to think that considered debate between these savants would permit a slower but better guided development of scientific psychology.’
    • ‘They're obsessed with systems, and they're good at systemizing, even when they don't happen to be mathematics professors or savants.’
    • ‘I wanted to link up what Brits were up to in the period 1600 to 1900 and what other cultures, people, savants and natural philosophers are doing to give a networked picture of the development of the sciences.’
    • ‘Inscriptions in both French and Latin were composed by the Petite Academie, a committee of savants that advised the Batiments du Roi on matters of allegory and erudition.’
    • ‘Maier is among an estimated 50 people in the world recognized as prodigious savants whose abilities are as remarkable as their limitations.’
    • ‘At first, with the support of international scientists including Thomas Jefferson, the nation's finest savants reckoned that the pendulum would set a fair and globally convincing standard.’
    • ‘Among those on board were the equivalents of Baudin's savants - Flinders' own preferred term was ‘scientific gentlemen’.’
    • ‘Both he and his older sister Maria Anna ‘Nannerl’ Mozart were child prodigies, but the world had never seen a musical savant like Wolfgang.’
    • ‘Beeckman was a savant with a wide range of scientific interests, and his influence on the younger man was considerable.’
    • ‘The process was begun with the savants who were sent by Napoleon to accumulate information for the multivolume Description de l' Egypte.’
    • ‘Baudin had sailed south from Timor, avoiding the continental coast, and then east to Tasmania, where he allowed his savants generous time to investigate the flora and fauna and to observe the indigenous population.’
    • ‘The very genre of the scientific autobiography is a 19 th-century invention: we learn about the lives of 18 th-century savants from eulogies, not confessions.’
    • ‘Towards the end of the nineteenth century, did not the savants declare that the only difference between the physical and chemical forces consists of the special rates of vibration of the etheric particles?’
    • ‘The episode shows how late-17th century savants were unanimous in their choice of Boyle and Newton as the two great icons of early-modern science.’
    • ‘It is not enough for a few savants to be privy to esoteric mathematical knowledge for that knowledge to be influential in a wider culture.’
    • ‘It involved not only building a library, but inviting savants from all over the Greek world to live in Alexandria.’
    • ‘Mersenne both kept in touch with savants all over Europe, and seems to have had a clear vision himself of what a new philosophy must consist in.’
    intellectual, scholar, sage, philosopher, thinker, learned person, wise person, Solomon
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  • 2A person who has an exceptional aptitude in one particular field, such as music or mathematics, despite having significant impairment in other areas of intellectual or social functioning.

    See also idiot savant

    • ‘Sam has trouble interpreting social cues and facial expressions, yet he is a savant when it comes to music’
    brilliant person, mental giant, mastermind, Einstein, intellectual, intellect, brain, highbrow, expert, master, artist, polymath
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Early 18th century French, literally ‘knowing (person)’, present participle (used as a noun) of savoir.