Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A learned person; a scholar.
  • n. An idiot savant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person of learning; one who is versed in literature or science.
  • n. A person eminent for acquirements.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A man of learning; one versed in literature or science; a person eminent for acquirements.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A man of learning or science; one eminent for learning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field

Etymologies

French, learned, savant, from Old French, present participle of savoir, to know, from Vulgar Latin sapēre, from Latin sapere, to be wise; see sep- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French savant from Latin sapere. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • All the whole human drift, from the first ape-man to the last savant, is but a phantom, a flash of light and a flutter of movement across the infinite face of the starry night.

    THE HUMAN DRIFT

  • To be sure, a 13 year old, no matter how savant, is not experienced in the ways of the world, and looks like a kid most likely.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Age Discrmination Against Child Prodigy?

  • That the gourmand, amiable savant, is pictured as nibbling on a partridge wing (itself related to the arm which raises it to the diner's mouth) au suprême (mark of invested expertise), thus with the expertly prepared food neither completely inside or outside the mouth even as it is consumed, a circumstance that works to prolong the process of eating and its attendant pleasure, emphasizes this ambiguity.

    Economies of Excess in Brillat-Savarin, Balzac, and Baudelaire

  • The point, non­cha­lant savant, is not to elim­i­nate waste but to min­i­mize it as much as pos­si­ble while keep­ing other value para­me­ters in mind.

    There’s Oil in the Water « Snarkmarket

  • An idiot savant is a person with autism that has extraordinary skills in certain domains in spite of cognitive deficiencies in most others.

    Hall of Flame

  • As I and Elizabeth making our departures, Lord Sandwich did bid me join him tomorrow night to hear speak a savant of the Royal Society.

    A different flesh

  • To some who had written of him as an advocate of an irreligious science he answered by asserting in an open letter to a friend (published in "Le Bien Public" 17 September, 1886) that he wished to be known as a savant, and at the same time a faithful

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • Another quality which one would be less disposed to look for in the savant is a fine contempt for danger, which is veiled in such modesty that one reads between the lines in order to detect it.

    Through the Magic Door

  • On the other side of the savant was a lively talker,

    From a College Window

  • Less than Zero to the publishing scandal that was American Psycho, this so called savant has obsessed on the hedonistic decadence of the Greed Decade to the point where he's literally blurred the lines between truth and taboo.

    PopMatters

Comments

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  • You almost never hear this word without being prefaced by idiot.

    July 8, 2007