Definition of genius in English:



  • 1Exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.

    ‘she was a teacher of genius’
    ‘Gardner had a real genius for tapping wealth’
    • ‘The auteur's true genius lies in his ability to combine high art with popular culture.’
    • ‘It was this man who, in 1799, combined a passion for power with his genius for leadership.’
    • ‘Even if you aren't a fan of the man's music, Charles' life story is a captivating look at the battle between drugs and creative genius.’
    • ‘He became an icon of scientific genius for the twentieth century.’
    • ‘I'm not some creative genius, I've just been doing it a while.’
    • ‘Several of our early presidents had abilities approaching genius.’
    • ‘Lyndon Johnson's political genius was creative not merely in the lower, technical aspects of politics but on much higher levels.’
    • ‘There was something captivating about this man, who dedicated much of his time to his artistic talents, his creative genius, and photographic exhibits.’
    • ‘The player is valued by his ability to play with skill, courage, commitment, genius, flair, strength and legitimate aggression.’
    • ‘His was an outrageous talent, brimming with vocal ability and story telling genius which only he could carry off; and his talent was of international class.’
    • ‘Their affiliation does not spring from supposed gifts of natural genius.’
    • ‘These characteristics are helping further psychiatric research into the links between creative genius and mental disorders.’
    • ‘Puccini's genius for the dramatic undercurrent, often heard in bold brass interjections, heightened the tension throughout.’
    • ‘Although he had no actual plans, he knew that his road would be made dear and so he waited, getting by on talent and saving his genius for when his name would be called.’
    • ‘No small part of Joyce's genius was his ability to use cliches creatively, imaginatively, knowingly.’
    • ‘Throughout that career, he has shown such genius for dividing opinion and pouring lemon into wounds that he has made himself a fortune.’
    • ‘With the soft, cold voice of a Hollywood villain, he had a natural genius for menace.’
    • ‘An exploration of his work will serve to illustrate his considerable creative genius.’
    • ‘In fact, part of his creative genius was his ability to rework themes and ideas to fit the contemporary setting.’
    • ‘But to do so is to undermine the writer's genius for tapping into quirky, funny human nature, which regardless of history remains pretty much the same.’
    brilliance, great intelligence, great intellect, great ability, cleverness, brains, erudition, wisdom, sagacity, fine mind, wit, artistry, flair, creative power, precocity, precociousness
    talent, gift, flair, aptitude, facility, knack, technique, touch, bent, ability, expertise, capacity, power, faculty
    View synonyms
  • 2A person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect.

    ‘one of the great musical geniuses of the 20th century’
    • ‘It is hugely comforting to know that we have local geniuses able to deliver quality work at such modest cost.’
    • ‘Schueler is one of the great forgotten geniuses of late 20 th-century art.’
    • ‘And to think they were declared musical geniuses by a good portion of the music press at the time.’
    • ‘You truly are the geniuses that give this site any credence and prominence’
    • ‘It was indeed the activity of the geniuses, of the masters of their craft, that made the rules.’
    • ‘Kids are born geniuses, as far as I'm concerned, just for being in harmony with their instincts.’
    • ‘The idea that the great work of the world is done by shining geniuses is false.’
    • ‘They resented the fact that the First Family was full of geniuses and prodigies.’
    • ‘This Valentine's Day, for the first time, the two musical geniuses are coming together.’
    • ‘The competition tests basic computing skills as well as challenging the computer geniuses.’
    • ‘Some of these geniuses never got any reward at all in their lifetime.’
    • ‘They are geniuses in design, promotion and selling and far superior to the people in the publishing houses.’
    • ‘Even the most brilliant of mathematical geniuses will never be able to tell us what the future holds.’
    • ‘Ultimately, this is just one of the pitfalls of working with eccentric artistic geniuses.’
    • ‘Often described as a modern writer, Dostoevsky is - like all geniuses - timeless.’
    • ‘The BBC yesterday hailed him as one of the greatest geniuses to have worked in radio comedy.’
    • ‘It is, after all, the biggest country on earth with a colossal roll-call of intellectual and artistic geniuses.’
    • ‘How this tiny fact escaped the minds of the planning geniuses is beyond all comprehension.’
    • ‘The cooking world has a very strict hierarchy where even geniuses have to begin as potato peelers.’
    • ‘Think of all those past geniuses who were cut off in their prime, and what might have been possible had they lived a few decades more.’
    brilliant person, mental giant, mastermind, einstein, intellectual, intellect, brain, highbrow, expert, master, artist, polymath
    View synonyms
  • 3A person regarded as exerting a powerful influence over another for good or evil.

    ‘he sees Adams as the man's evil genius’
    ‘this young man is my good genius, my guardian angel’
    • ‘Then I remembered that speculation was rife in some quarters that the Republican evil genius had planted the forged documents.’
    • ‘In some instances, a place, a city, or an institution had its genius.’
    • ‘He's the evil genius behind the biggest political con-trick in history.’
    • ‘Twice within eight months the film studio was sold, both times to firms headed by disciples of its former executive, the Street's reigning evil genius.’
    • ‘The genius behind these festivities is the creator of ‘Freiheit und Wissen,’ yet another blog that I should have linked to some time ago.’
    • ‘Though the name Fred Segal is well known, Herman is in fact the genius behind the institution.’
    • ‘He is the presiding genius of the national spirit, a kind of Churchill in a neck ruff.’
    • ‘He correctly characterized the motivation of the organization's leader, the presumed evil genius of terrorism.’
    • ‘Since de Portes died in a car accident at the end of June 1940, her side of the story is lost to history, and she forever remains Reynaud's evil genius, responsible for all his errors of judgement.’
    • ‘The evil genii at the helm in fact want Dean to be the man they run against.’
    • ‘He was known as the evil genius of the Nixon administration, you may recall.’
    1. 3.1(in some mythologies) a guardian spirit associated with a person, place, or institution.
      • ‘The niches perhaps also recall Roman lararia, and the snakes the protective genii associated with such household shrines.’
  • 4The prevalent character or spirit of something such as a nation or age.

    ‘Boucher's paintings did not suit the austere genius of neoclassicism’
    • ‘It is unique, and expresses the genius of a native people.’
    • ‘The privilege afforded famous scientists, Surowiecki argues, has undervalued the genius of the scientific ethos: its commitment to meritocracy.’
    • ‘The Romans were taught to believe that the destiny of Rome was the destiny of the world and this became embodied in a civil religion which embraced the genius of the Roman people.’
    • ‘Few people today would have difficulty recognizing in Haydon the outlines of a new social character - the romantic genius.’
    • ‘Progressive democracy is the genius of our people.’
    • ‘The genius of capitalism is that thus far it has proven democratic when under threat.’
    • ‘Does democracy suit the genius of our two peoples, where votes are cast/obtained for considerations other than merit and manifestos?’
    • ‘Secularism suits the genius of a multi-religious, multi-caste and multi-lingual country like India best.’
    • ‘Now my compositions reflect the genius and potential of mankind.’
    • ‘The apologetics of personal testimony is particularly suited to the genius of Catholicism.’


  • Very clever or ingenious.

    ‘a genius marketing ploy’
    ‘this book was absolutely genius in parts’
    • ‘Yes, some genius marketing folks decided that DVD impulse buys were the way to capture their target market, so releasing four episode volumes at $9.99 would be the way to go.’
    • ‘Another genius move came in releasing the songs on iTunes as the episodes aired.’
    • ‘We need a real genius marketing campaign, something that will put Signature Loans on the map and into the minds of millions of Missourians.’
    • ‘Wallace and Gromit's world of genius inventions that very nearly work perfectly, and hoarded bits and bobs that might come in handy one day, is very much Park's own, he revealed.’
    • ‘Of course it makes things a whole lot easier if a person can successfully market and sell their genius idea or product.’
    • ‘After the show, me and two friends thought it would be a genius idea to hazard a guess at which hotel the band might be staying in.’
    • ‘The genius idea in Shrek 2 is Shrek turning into a handsome hero.’
    • ‘I hope some genius record producer takes up Hawkins's work.’
    • ‘This new twelve-track collection was created with the help of genius producer Bob Rock and was recorded at The Bath House Recording Studio in Bath, Ontario.’
    • ‘It's simply a roaring success on all levels; it's a genius piece of fiction.’
    • ‘Against my own wishes, I now admit: it was a genius touch.’
    • ‘Of the major three inspirational sources for this film, only one of them is in my top ten list, and that is Eyes Wide Shut, which I think is a genius piece of filmmaking in more ways than one.’
    • ‘Having the villain so many steps ahead of both the heroes and the audience is a genius move and results in a relentless feel of dread throughout.’
    • ‘Casting Carol Burnett as Sue's mom seemed like a genius move, but they never came close to leveraging her talents.’
    • ‘You might have a genius idea, but if you don't present it well, you're wasting your time.’
    • ‘Their logo is a genius piece of graphic simplicity, two colours, four buildings, three of which are instantly recognisable.’
    • ‘The opening is the same kind of slow music as the "New World" largo, without the genius touches (like the opening chordal passage) that distinguish the Dvorak.’
    • ‘Every so often you see what can only be described as an audacious and genius piece of parking.’
    • ‘It is actually kind of a genius idea, when you think about it.’
    • ‘Whoever had the 'genius' idea to make Cole Porter 'hip with the kids' needs a brain transplant.’
    inventive, creative, imaginative, original, innovative, resourceful, enterprising, insightful, inspired, perceptive, intuitive
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Latin, attendant spirit present from one's birth, innate ability or inclination from the root of gignere beget The original sense tutelary spirit attendant on a person gave rise to a sense a person's characteristic disposition (late 16th century), which led to a sense a person's natural ability and finally exceptional natural ability (mid 17th century).