Ingenuity formerly had the meaning “simplicity, candor, frankness,” which corresponds to the current meaning of ingenuous, an adjective which comes directly from Latin ingenuus. Ingenuity with the sense “cleverness, inventiveness, skill” is the result of the mutual confusion— conflation is perhaps the better word—of the adjective ingenious with ingenuous, evidence of which can be found in literature of the 17th and 18th centuries. Ingenious comes from the Latin adjective ingeniōsus “intelligent, talented, clever, gifted,” derived from the noun ingenium “natural disposition, (good) mental abilities, talents, or powers (that is, personal temperament and intellectual qualities).” Latin ingenium comes from the same elements, in, in- and gignere, as ingenuitās and ingenuus. From such similar roots, a confusion was born.
- hy·per·in·ge·nu·i·ty, noun
- su·per·in·ge·nu·i·ty, noun, plural su·per·in·ge·nu·i·ties.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ingenuity in a sentence
Mamie Price, the Barclays’s cook, is a woman whose ingenuity and artistry far surpass the circumscribed opportunities available to her.Ladee Hubbard’s ‘The Rib King’ is a fascinating look at ambition, race and revenge | Naomi Jackson | January 21, 2021 | Washington Post
The ingenuity of Starship is that it just “belly-flops” all the way down—a type of free fall in which the atmosphere gradually slows down its speed.SpaceX Starship Prototype Exploded, but It’s Still a Giant Leap Towards Mars | Hugh Hunt | December 17, 2020 | Singularity Hub
Because it depends on the changing abilities of classical computers and the ingenuity of those coding them, it’s still a moving benchmark.New Quantum Computer in China Claims Quantum Advantage With Light | Jason Dorrier | December 6, 2020 | Singularity Hub
In fact, Google will emerge stronger than ever in 2021 because of its scale, leadership, and ingenuity.
The result is a celebration of ingenuity, what we can accomplish together when challenges both personal and global arise.
The public cheered Holmes when she broke away from Cruise with a similar element of challenge and ingenuity.How Can Katie Holmes Escape Tom Cruise—and ‘Dawson’s Creek’? | Tim Teeman | October 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Seven Elements That Changed The World: An Adventure of ingenuity and Discovery is published by Pegasus Books/W.
The legal gymnastics necessary to create such impenetrable networks is a testament to the ingenuity of well-paid attorneys.Consultants Are Cashing In On Campaigns’ Dark New Economics | Robert Maguire | February 22, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Again, there was a big step forward in ingenuity and, again, there was a big step back in guts.What It Was Like to Watch the Beatles Become the Beatles—Nik Cohn Remembers | Nik Cohn | February 9, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
We hide behind science, in other words, and then pat ourselves on the back for our ingenuity.What Happens to the Death Penalty When Lethal Injection Isn’t Quick and Painless? | Andrew Cohen | January 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
A still more signal triumph to American ingenuity was accorded on Thursday.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
These problems will exercise all the ingenuity and strength that Lombard Street can muster.Readings in Money and Banking | Chester Arthur Phillips
The following epigrams for tobacco jars from "The Tobacco Plant" evince much "taste, wit, and ingenuity."Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce | E. R. Billings.
De Lothbinière has shown ingenuity in thus making bricks without straw.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
Their cities were well laid out, and presented evidence of educated minds and mechanical ingenuity.
British Dictionary definitions for ingenuity
inventive talent; cleverness
an ingenious device, act, etc
archaic frankness; candour
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