From Latin genius (“inborn nature; a tutelary deity of a person or place; wit, brilliance”), from gignō (“to beget, produce”), Old Latin genō, from the Proto-Indo-European root *ǵenh₁-. Doublet of genio. See also genus.
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒin.jəs/, /ˈd͡ʒi.ni.əs/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈdʒiː.nɪəs/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -iːniəs
- Someone possessing extraordinary intelligence or skill; especially somebody who has demonstrated this by a creative or original work in science, music, art etc.
- Extraordinary mental capacity.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
- In the old days, to my commonplace and unobserving mind, he gave no evidences of genius whatsoever. He never read me any of his manuscripts, […], and therefore my lack of detection of his promise may in some degree be pardoned.
- Inspiration, a mental leap, an extraordinary creative process.
- a work of genius
- to add a dash of cinnamon amid such umami was pure genius
- (Roman mythology, also figuratively) The tutelary deity or spirit of a place or person.
- and the genius of the place: the growing enthusiasm for codified standards in the Army and Navy
- 1715, Edward Burnett Tylor, Primitive Culture
- We talk of genius still, but with thought how changed! The genius of Augustus was a tutelary demon, to be sworn by and to receive offerings on an altar as a deity.
- 1866, Frederick F. Wyman, From Calcutta to the Snowy Range (page 330)
- An old sinner, in shape of a khansamah, is the genius of the place, and has rarely aught else to tempt the tired traveller with than a “sudden death”—a fowl caught running in the yard, and dished up forthwith; […]
genius (not comparable)
- (informal) Ingenious, brilliant, very clever, or original.
- What a genius idea!
- 2012 May 20, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Marge Gets A Job” (season 4, episode 7; originally aired 11/05/1992)”, in The Onion AV Club:
- We all know how genius “Kamp Krusty,” “A Streetcar Named Marge,” “Homer The Heretic,” “Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie” and “Mr. Plow” are, but even the relatively unheralded episodes offer wall-to-wall laughs and some of the smartest, darkest, and weirdest gags ever Trojan-horsed into a network cartoon with a massive family audience.
- genius in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- genius in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- "genius" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 143.
- jenius (nonstandard)
Learned borrowing from Latin genius (“inborn nature; a tutelary deity of a person or place; wit, brilliance”), from gignō (“to beget, produce”), Old Latin genō, from the Proto-Indo-European root *ǵenh₁-. Doublet of enjin, insinyur, and zeni.
- genius: ingenious, brilliant, very clever, or original.
- “genius” in Online Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language [Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia Daring], Jakarta: Language Development and Fostering Agency — Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of the Republic Indonesia, 2016.
Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ǵenh₁- (“to beget”), perhaps through Old Latin genō (“to beget, give birth; to produce, cause”). Comparisons with Aramaic ܓܢܝܐ (ginnaya, “tutelary deity”), and with Arabic جِنّ (jinn, “jinn, spirit, demon”) and جَنِين (janīn, “embryo, germ”), suggest the effects of an older substrate word.
- (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈɡe.ni.us/, [ˈɡɛniʊs̠]
- (Ecclesiastical) IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒe.ni.us/, [ˈd͡ʒɛːnius]
- the deity or guardian spirit of a person, place, etc.; a daemon, a daimon (cf. Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn))
- an inborn nature or innate character, especially (though not exclusively) as endowed by a personal (especially tutelar) spirit or deity.
- (with respect to the enjoyment of life) the spirit of social enjoyment, fondness for good living, taste, appetite, inclinations
- (of the intellect) wit, talents, genius (rare)
1Found in older Latin (until the Augustan Age).
- Catullus[,] Tibullus and Pervigilium Veneris, 1921, page 328f. containing Albius Tibullus III, XI, 9f. = IV, V, 9f. with a translation into English by J. P. Postgate:
- magne Geni, cape tura libens votisque faveto,
si modo, cum de me cogitat, ille calet.
- Great Genius, take this incense with a will, and smile upon my prayer, if only when he thinks on me his pulse beats high.
- magne Geni, cape tura libens votisque faveto,
- “genius”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- “genius”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- genius in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
- genius in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
- “genius”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
- “genius”, in William Smith, editor (1848) A Dictionary of Greek Biography and Mythology, London: John Murray
- “genius”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin
- “genius” in The Nynorsk Dictionary.