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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There ought to be a phrase - the opposite of idiot savant - for highly intelligent people who are also bloody fools.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dave's reluctant and unwitting partner in small time crookdom is best mate Happy - idiot savant and genius car breaker.’
    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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Whatever his motives, North's crusade has made him the idiot savant of big business.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


French, literally ‘knowledgeable idiot’.


idiot savant

/ˌiːdjəʊ saˈvɒ̃//ˌɪdɪəʊ/