[ in-jeen-yuhs ]
/ 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

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

Can be confused

ingenious ingenuous (see usage note at the current entry)

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ingenious

British Dictionary definitions for ingenious


/ (ɪnˈdʒiːnjəs, -nɪəs) /


possessing or done with ingenuity; skilful or clever
obsolete having great intelligence; displaying genius

Derived Forms

ingeniously, adverbingeniousness, noun

Word Origin for ingenious

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