Definition of ingenious in English:



  • 1(of a person) clever, original, and inventive.

    ‘he was ingenious enough to overcome the limited budget’
    • ‘I was pleasantly surprised to find my ingenious, distant relative had a setup I had never imagined.’
    • ‘The Code may have been a heavy burden, but many moviemakers were ingenious enough to adapt.’
    • ‘She is an ingenious poet, a brilliant performer, a funny person, and serious thinker.’
    • ‘The islanders are a singular, ingenious people, in common with most of the world's island - dwellers.’
    • ‘Who save this party, too ingenious for words, would advocate support for England's World Cup efforts?’
    • ‘Yes, Donne's tricky and ingenious and he's enjoying his ingenuity.’
    • ‘We are ingenious and we make great things, be it art, music or inventions.’
    • ‘Can there be any doubt that Hou is the most ingenious master of our time?’
    • ‘The filmmakers were quite ingenious in imposing the needs of the medium on their depiction of Nash.’
    • ‘It was an unfortunate combination of poor building design and a couple of bright minds ingenious enough to take advantage of it.’
    • ‘So to the extent that you can personify methodology I see him as ingenious but erratic.’
    • ‘On the other hand, a lot of people were saying, well look, he's an ingenious guy.’
    • ‘And soup is one dish the ingenious Shanghainese have even endowed with seasonal features.’
    • ‘An ingenious person should multiply the kinds of congress after the fashion of the different kinds of beasts and of birds.’
    • ‘What you have to believe is that humans are a very inventive and ingenious species.’
    inventive, creative, imaginative, original, innovative, resourceful, enterprising, insightful, inspired, perceptive, intuitive
    clever, intelligent, bright, smart, brilliant, masterly, talented, gifted, skilful, capable
    sharp, astute, sharp-witted, razor-sharp, quick, quick-witted, shrewd
    elaborate, sophisticated, trailblazing, pioneering
    on the ball, thinking outside the box, genius
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a machine or idea) cleverly and originally devised and well suited to its purpose.
      • ‘Originality and innovation brings intelligent and ingenious solutions to problems.’
      • ‘People, children, have some ingenious ways of coping with the impossible and the unbearable.’
      • ‘No ingenious sophistry can overthrow this fact of experience.’
      • ‘The paint knife is an ingenious invention that squirts paint when pressure is applied to the blade.’
      • ‘Imagine if you could summon the nerve to design an ingenious plot that would slowly peel him or her apart.’
      • ‘Using the concept of tax relief as the means of reparation is also an ingenious idea.’
      • ‘The elaborate subterfuge is often ingenious, but not enough to sustain an entire movie.’
      • ‘It cannot be the function of the court to decide how clever or ingenious a particular invention was.’
      • ‘And this was an ingenious insight; how voice is like a kind of a spectral ghost.’
      • ‘The first problem with my ingenious master scheme was that I had no idea how to go about doing this.’
      • ‘The outlaw's intelligence is often displayed in his ingenious escapes.’
      • ‘An English geologist has come up with one of the most ingenious ideas yet suggested.’
      • ‘Each method used is an ingenious result of intelligent and creative thinking.’
      • ‘It is indubitably ingenious and capable of delivering the peace we all yearn for.’
      • ‘Another ingenious invention was a system to prevent early starts in the foot races.’
      • ‘This elaborate and ingenious argument breaks down at a number of points.’
      • ‘I was shocked at the ingenious methods people would use to get money to buy drugs.’
      • ‘This is used to refer to anyone capable of finding ingenious solutions to problems.’
      • ‘The company has a reputation for inventive adaptations, ingenious design and musical innovation.’
      • ‘Before the invention of refrigerators, ingenious ways were found to keep food cold.’


Ingenious and ingenuous are often confused. Ingenious means ‘clever, skillful, resourceful’ (an ingenious device), while ingenuous means ‘artless, frank’ (charmed by the ingenuous honesty of the child)


Late Middle English: from French ingénieux or Latin ingeniosus, from ingenium mind, intellect; compare with engine.