Definition of autodidact in English:



  • A self-taught person.

    • ‘They're well-informed autodidacts who feel marginalised by the academy.’
    • ‘For a man of his scholarly stature and erudition, it is astonishing to note that he was an autodidact in theology and had never earned a theological degree in the strict sense.’
    • ‘A self-confessed autodidact - he rejected any formal musical training preferring instead to develop his own touch - he proves to be an incredibly talented melodist and arranger.’
    • ‘She's a quintessential bookworm, a ferocious autodidact - someone who, whatever her missteps and transgressions, commands our respect and attention.’
    • ‘He was an autodidact who taught himself these languages while working as an Assistant Keeper in the British Museum, after completing a Classics degree at Cambridge.’
    • ‘Though neither attended university, Jonson was a famous autodidact whose classical learning (including his knowledge of Greek) easily outstripped Shakespeare's.’
    • ‘He started his artistic career as an autodidact.’
    • ‘He said he had come to know a ‘number of strong personalities there, combative workers, autodidacts, sometimes intellectuals’.’
    • ‘Yet many scholars established in other fields have become ecological autodidacts and have begun to develop research and teaching in environmental subjects.’
    • ‘Both were autodidacts, who went, perfunctorily, to school and college while pursuing their education by their own means and under their own instruction.’
    • ‘I highly recommend this epoch-making CD-ROM to teachers, students, and even autodidacts.’
    • ‘His teacher was the history he lived through and participated in, his friends the generation of revolutionaries surrounding him - erudite autodidacts of the times.’
    • ‘He had ended his formal education at the age of 13, lost his given first name during a tour of the South Pacific, and turned himself into a formidable autodidact in the dressing rooms of provincial theatres.’
    • ‘One of the true autodidacts of his generation, Kiyooka's formal education ended in grade nine, 1942, when he and his family, identified by federal policy as ‘of the Japanese race’ were forced out of Calgary.’
    • ‘It was to a large extent a self-education with the characteristic vices and virtues; when he came to power in 1949 he was still the brilliant autodidact, mixing shrewd unorthodox insights with astonishing ignorance.’
    • ‘His music exhibits both the glories and pitfalls of the autodidact.’
    • ‘She has the vigorous curiosity of the nineteenth-century autodidact, the brash stamina of the colonial settler, and the unselfconscious righteousness of the imperial missionary.’
    • ‘Thankfully these days there is the Internet, where autodidacts like me can find these things out for ourselves.’
    • ‘An autodidact and a polymath, he studied economics, meteorology, history, genetics, and many other subjects.’
    • ‘Like other autodidacts of his time, he aspired to universal knowledge.’


Mid 18th century: from Greek autodidaktos ‘self-taught’, from autos ‘self’ + didaskein ‘teach’.