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[sa-vahnt, sav-uh nt; French sa-vahn] /sæˈvɑnt, ˈsæv ənt; French saˈvɑ̃/
noun, plural savants
[sa-vahnts, sav-uh nts; French sa-vahn] /sæˈvɑnts, ˈsæv ənts; French saˈvɑ̃/ (Show IPA)
a person of profound or extensive learning; learned scholar.
Origin of savant
1710-20; < French: man of learning, scholar, old present participle of savoir to know ≪ Latin sapere to be wise; see sapient Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for savant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This persistency had struck the savant, and he asked a mutual friend to introduce him.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • A comparison reveals that the one author is not a cook while the other is not a savant.

  • No savant now denies the transmittable taint of insanity and consumption.

    Mizora: A Prophecy Mary E. Bradley
  • Here the savant seeing a hobby-horse near, caught him and jumped on.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • "I will trouble you with a few commissions," said the savant.

    Dona Perfecta B. Perez Galdos
  • To this condition the Belgian savant gave the name of gymnaxony.

    Vegetable Teratology

    Maxwell T. Masters
  • Outwardly the Professor did not appear like the savant he was reported to be.

    The Green Mummy Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for savant


/ˈsævənt; French savɑ̃/
a man of great learning; sage
Derived Forms
savante, noun:feminine
Word Origin
C18: from French, from savoir to know, from Latin sapere to be wise; see sapient
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 savant

"one eminent for learning," 1719, from French savant "a learned man," noun use of adjective savant "learned, knowing," former present participle of savoir "to know," from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere "be wise" (see sapient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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