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[in-jeen-yuh s] /ɪnˈdʒin yəs/
characterized by cleverness or originality of invention or construction:
an ingenious machine.
cleverly inventive or resourceful:
an ingenious press agent.
  1. intelligent; showing genius.
  2. ingenuous.
Origin of ingenious
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin ingeniōsus, equivalent to ingeni(um) natural disposition, cleverness (in- in-2 + gen- (base of gignere to bring into being; cf. genitor) + -ium -ium) + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
ingeniously, adverb
ingeniousness, noun
half-ingenious, adjective
half-ingeniously, adverb
half-ingeniousness, noun
overingenious, adjective
overingeniously, adverb
overingeniousness, noun
superingenious, adjective
superingeniously, adverb
superingeniousness, noun
Can be confused
ingenious, ingenuous (see usage note at the current entry)
2. bright, gifted, able, resourceful; adroit.
2. unskillful.
Usage note
Ingenious and ingenuous are now distinct from each other and are not synonyms. Ingenious means “characterized by cleverness” or “cleverly inventive,” as in contriving new explanations or methods: an ingenious device; ingenious designers. Ingenuous means “candid” or “innocent”: an ingenuous and sincere statement; a thug with the ingenuous eyes of a choirboy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for ingenious


/ɪnˈdʒiːnjəs; -nɪəs/
possessing or done with ingenuity; skilful or clever
(obsolete) having great intelligence; displaying genius
Derived Forms
ingeniously, adverb
ingeniousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin ingeniōsus, from ingenium natural ability; see engine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ingenious

early 15c., "intellectual, talented," from Middle French ingénieux "clever, ingenious" (Old French engeignos), from Latin ingeniosus "of good capacity, full of intellect; clever, gifted with genius," from ingenium "innate qualities, ability," literally "that which is inborn," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + gignere, from PIE *gen- "produce" (see genus). Sense of "skillful, clever at contrivance" first recorded 1540s. In a sense of "crafty, clever, skillful" Middle English had enginous (mid-14c.), from Old French engeignos. Related: Ingeniously; ingeniousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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