Definition of idiot savant in English:

idiot savant


  • 1A person who has a mental disability or learning difficulties but is extremely gifted in a particular way, such as the performing of feats of memory or calculation.

    • ‘There ought to be a phrase - the opposite of idiot savant - for highly intelligent people who are also bloody fools.’
    • ‘Dave's reluctant and unwitting partner in small time crookdom is best mate Happy - idiot savant and genius car breaker.’
    • ‘So when we look at genius or child prodigies or musical geniuses or idiot savants, these are clues to the mystery of that infinitely creative mind that we can tap into.’
    • ‘The character is a form of idiot savant who combines the disability with the compensating special powers.’
    • ‘The two brothers, one a genius and the other an idiot savant, generate, in their stream of consciousness, scatologically poetic and gloriously energetic comic prose that leaps off the page.’
    brilliant person, mental giant, mastermind, einstein, intellectual, intellect, brain, highbrow, expert, master, artist, polymath
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who is extremely unworldly but displays natural wisdom and insight.
      • ‘You get the playfully misdirecting mandarins, the I'm a-sensitive-genius melodramatists, the plain-speaking strongmen - or, at the extreme, the idiots savants: the guys who just don't know how they do it.’
      • ‘Whatever his motives, North's crusade has made him the idiot savant of big business.’
      • ‘The knee-jerk reaction is to write him off as an idiot savant, a working-class hero with a world-class haircut who doesn't have two brain cells to rub together.’
      • ‘It might be said (rather than argued) that only a literary idiot savant like me would need a review to convince me that a graphic novel was worth reading and gave the Novel in general a powerful new direction.’
      • ‘She may be illiterate and vapid, but next to him, she's a regular idiot savant marketing genius who cashed in on her B-list celebrity the moment it was about to expire.’


French, literally ‘knowledgeable idiot’.


idiot savant

/ˌiːdjəʊ saˈvɒ̃//ˌɪdɪəʊ/