Definition of ingenuity in English:



  • [mass noun] The quality of being clever, original, and inventive.

    ‘considerable ingenuity must be employed in writing software’
    ‘the ingenuity of Haydn's scoring’
    • ‘Her soulful lyrics expose her vulnerability as an artist and her ingenuity as a poet.’
    • ‘Originality and ingenuity are the aims of a competition launched at a Trowbridge school on Friday.’
    • ‘Smaller boats are masterpieces of ingenuity, with folding tables and settees which convert into beds.’
    • ‘I marvel at the almost boundless ingenuity and skill of mankind sometimes.’
    • ‘This is because there was little structural inventiveness or technical ingenuity.’
    • ‘Only with human ingenuity, inspiration and ability can we sample what our neighbouring world has to offer.’
    • ‘But then they are just career politicians afraid of imagination and ingenuity.’
    • ‘Despite the technology, you still need human talent and ingenuity to create a work of greatness.’
    • ‘The film's landscape of urban desolation must have taken some ingenuity to achieve.’
    • ‘In every way - performance, build quality, ingenuity of design - it is the better car.’
    • ‘The story is told with considerable ingenuity and also a little humour from a team fully in touch with their puppet world.’
    • ‘The elements of heaven and earth are elegantly manifested by the artists' ingenuity.’
    • ‘His clocks were masterpieces of skill, precision, ingenuity, and determination.’
    • ‘His intelligence and ingenuity have enabled him to become the number one predator.’
    • ‘They must use all their ingenuity to complete their hazardous work and survive.’
    • ‘Rather, the curators have used their resources with ingenuity to make us look at Dutch painting in a very different way.’
    • ‘However, these are remarkable examples of ingenuity as well as artistry.’
    • ‘By the very nature of them it is clear you are a man of some intelligence and some ingenuity.’
    • ‘He resolves to build a monument to nineteenth century ingenuity and invention that will blend fantasy and reality.’
    • ‘Bookshops can deploy all their marketing ingenuity to produce imaginative displays.’
    inventiveness, creativity, imagination, originality, innovation, resourcefulness, enterprise, insight, inspiration, perceptiveness, perception, intuition, flair, finesse, artistry, genius
    cleverness, intelligence, brilliance, mastery, talent, skill
    sharpness, astuteness, acumen, acuity, sharp-wittedness, quick-wittedness, quickness, shrewdness
    thinking outside the box
    View synonyms


Late 16th century (also in the senses ‘nobility’ and ‘ingenuousness’): from Latin ingenuitas ingenuousness, from ingenuus inborn. The current meaning arose by confusion of ingenuous with ingenious.