Student Dictionary

One entry found for genius.
Main Entry: ge·nius
Pronunciation: primarystressjemacronn-yschwas, primarystressjemacron-nemacron-schwas
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural ge·nius·es or ge·nii /-emacron-secondarystressimacr, -nemacron-secondarystressimacr/
Etymology: from Latin genius "special guardian spirit," from gignere "to father, beget" --related to ENGINE, 1GIN, INGENIOUS
1 plural genii : an accompanying spirit of a person or place
2 : a strong leaning or inclination <a genius for getting into trouble>
3 : a peculiar, distinctive, or identifying character <the genius of a nation>
4 plural usually geniuses a : great natural ability b : extraordinary intelligence c : a very gifted person
Word History The ancient Romans believed in special beings or spirits that were not gods or humans but something in between. They believed that from birth each person had one of these spirits to act as a protector. The Latin name for this spirit was genius, which came from gignere, meaning "to be the father of, beget." This sense came into English in the early 15th century. Part of such a genius's role was to protect a person's moral character. From this idea in the 16th century came the sense of genius meaning "an identifying character." This led to the sense of "a marked aptitude." In time genius came to mean "very great intellectual power" and to be applied to people who have such power.

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