One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A female savant.
- ‘Her skirts brush the heap of geographical aids she was consulting earlier and left piled in a corner, since femmes savantes are rarely tidy: some rolled maps, a terrestrial globe and a huge leather-bound atlas fully a fifth of her height.’
- ‘The roll-call of celebrated women expanded from the traditional saints, queens, Biblical heroines and aristocratic savantes to include middle-class bluestockings, actresses and other non-elite prodigies.’
Mid 18th century: French, feminine of savant (see savant).
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