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Webster 1913 Edition


Genius

Gen′ius

,
Noun.
;
pl. E.
Geniuses
(#)
; in sense 1, L.
Genii
(#)
.
[L.
genius
, prop., the superior or divine nature which is innate in everything, the spirit, the tutelar deity or genius of a person or place, taste, talent, genius, from
genere
,
gignere
, to beget, bring forth. See
Gender
, and cf.
Engine
.]
1.
A good or evil spirit, or demon, supposed by the ancients to preside over a man’s destiny in life; a tutelary deity; a supernatural being; a spirit, good or bad. Cf.
Jinnee
.

Syn. – genie.
The unseen
genius
of the wood.
Milton.
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.
Tylor.
2.
The peculiar structure of mind with which each individual is endowed by nature; that disposition or aptitude of mind which is peculiar to each man, and which qualifies him for certain kinds of action or special success in any pursuit; special taste, inclination, or disposition;
as, a
genius
for history, for poetry, or painting
.
3.
Peculiar character; animating spirit, as of a nation, a religion, a language.
4.
Distinguished mental superiority; uncommon intellectual power; especially, superior power of invention or origination of any kind, or of forming new combinations;
as, a man of
genius
.
Genius
of the highest kind implies an unusual intensity of the modifying power.
Coleridge.
Syn.
Genius
,
Talent
.
Genius implies high and peculiar gifts of nature, impelling the mind to certain favorite kinds of mental effort, and producing new combinations of ideas, imagery, etc. Talent supposes general strength of intellect, with a peculiar aptitude for being molded and directed to specific employments and valuable ends and purposes. Genius is connected more or less with the exercise of imagination, and reaches its ends by a kind of intuitive power. Talent depends more on high mental training, and a perfect command of all the faculties, memory, judgment, sagacity, etc. Hence we speak of a genius for poetry, painting. etc., and a talent for business or diplomacy. Among English orators, Lord Chatham was distinguished for his genius; William Pitt for his preëminent talents, and especially his unrivaled talent for debate.
Genius loci
[L.]
,
the genius or presiding divinity of a place; hence, the pervading spirit of a place or institution, as of a college, etc.

Webster 1828 Edition


Genius

GE'NIUS

,
Noun.
[L. from the root of gigno; Gr. to beget.]
1.
Among the ancients, a good or evil spirit or demon supposed to preside over a man's destiny in life, that is, to direct his birth and actions and be his guard and guide; a tutelary deity; the ruling and protecting power of men, places or things. This seems to be merely a personification or deification of the particular structure or bent of mind which a man receives from nature,which is the primary signification of the word.
2.
The peculiar structure of mind which is given by nature to an individual, or that disposition or bent of mind which is peculiar to every man, and which qualifies him for a particular employment; a particular natural talent or aptitude of mind for a particular study or course of life; as a genius for history, for poetry or painting.
3.
Strength of mind; uncommon powers of intellect, particularly the power of invention. In this sense we say, Homer was a man of genius. Hence,
4.
A man endowed with uncommon vigor of mind; a man of superior intellectual faculties. Shakespeare was a rare-genius.
5.
Mental powers or faculties. [See No.2.]
6.
Nature; disposition; peculiar character; as the genius of the times.

Definition 2022


Genius

Genius

See also: genius and génius

German

Noun

Genius m (genitive Genius, plural Genien)

  1. genius (extraordinary mental capacity)
  2. a genius (a person with genius)
  3. (mythology) guardian spirit, genius

Synonyms

Genius in Duden online

genius

genius

See also: génius and Genius

English

Noun

genius (plural geniuses or genii)

  1. (eulogistic) Someone possessing extraordinary intelligence or skill; especially somebody who has demonstrated this by a creative or original work in science, music, art etc.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      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.
  2. Extraordinary mental capacity.
  3. Inspiration, a mental leap, an extraordinary creative process.
    a work of genius.
  4. (Roman mythology) The guardian spirit of a place or person.
  5. A way of thinking, optimizing one's capacity for learning and understanding.

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:genius

Antonyms

Related terms

Translations

Adjective

genius (not comparable)

  1. (informal) ingenious, very clever, or original.
    What a genius idea!

Latin

Etymology

From Proto-Indo-European *ǵenh₁- (to beget).

Pronunciation

  • (Classical) IPA(key): /ˈɡe.ni.us/, [ˈɡɛ.ni.ʊs]

Noun

genius m (genitive geniī); second declension

  1. the deity or guardian spirit of a person, place, etc.
  2. (with respect to the enjoyment of life) the spirit of social enjoyment, fondness for good living, taste, appetite, inclinations
  3. (of the intellect) wit, talents, genius (rare)

Inflection

Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative genius geniī
genitive geniī
genī1
geniōrum
dative geniō geniīs
accusative genium geniōs
ablative geniō geniīs
vocative genī geniī

1Found in older Latin (until the Augustan Age).

Descendants

References