Genius Gen"ius, n.; pl. E. {Geniuses}; in sense 1, L. {Genii}. [L. genius, prop., the superior or divine nature which is innate in everything, the spirit, the tutelar deity or genius of a person or place, taste, talent, genius, from genere, gignere, to beget, bring forth. See {Gender}, and cf. {Engine}.] 1. A good or evil spirit, or demon, supposed by the ancients to preside over a man's destiny in life; a tutelary deity; a supernatural being; a spirit, good or bad. Cf. {Jinnee}. [1913 Webster]

The unseen genius of the wood. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

We talk of genius still, but with thought how changed! The genius of Augustus was a tutelary demon, to be sworn by and to receive offerings on an altar as a deity. --Tylor. [1913 Webster]

2. The peculiar structure of mind with which each individual is endowed by nature; that disposition or aptitude of mind which is peculiar to each man, and which qualifies him for certain kinds of action or special success in any pursuit; special taste, inclination, or disposition; as, a genius for history, for poetry, or painting. [1913 Webster]

3. Peculiar character; animating spirit, as of a nation, a religion, a language. [1913 Webster]

4. Distinguished mental superiority; uncommon intellectual power; especially, superior power of invention or origination of any kind, or of forming new combinations; as, a man of genius. [1913 Webster]

Genius of the highest kind implies an unusual intensity of the modifying power. --Coleridge. [1913 Webster]

5. A man endowed with uncommon vigor of mind; a man of superior intellectual faculties and creativity; as, Shakespeare was a rare genius.

Syn: {Genius}, {Talent}.

Usage: Genius implies high and peculiar gifts of nature, impelling the mind to certain favorite kinds of mental effort, and producing new combinations of ideas, imagery, etc. Talent supposes general strength of intellect, with a peculiar aptitude for being molded and directed to specific employments and valuable ends and purposes. Genius is connected more or less with the exercise of imagination, and reaches its ends by a kind of intuitive power. Talent depends more on high mental training, and a perfect command of all the faculties, memory, judgment, sagacity, etc. Hence we speak of a genius for poetry, painting. etc., and a talent for business or diplomacy. Among English orators, Lord Chatham was distinguished for his genius; William Pitt for his pre["e]minent talents, and especially his unrivaled talent for debate. [1913 Webster]

{Genius loci}[L.], the genius or presiding divinity of a place; hence, the pervading spirit of a place or institution, as of a college, etc. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Genius — »Schutzgeist«: Der Ausdruck aus der römischen Religion und Mythologie wurde im 16. Jh. übernommen. Lat. genius ist wohl eine lat. Bildung zum Verb gignere (genere) »hervorbringen, erzeugen« (vgl. ↑ Genus) und bedeutet eigentlich »Erzeuger«. Als… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

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  • genius — late 14c., tutelary god (classical or pagan), from L. genius guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, wit, talent; also prophetic skill, originally generative power, from root of gignere beget,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • genius — [jēn′yəs; ] also, esp. for 1 2, [jē′nē əs] n. pl. for 3 6, geniuses; for 1 & 2, genii [jē′nē ī΄] [L, guardian spirit, natural ability, genius < base of genere, gignere, to produce: see GENUS] 1. a) [often G ] according to ancient Roman belief …   English World dictionary

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