[sa-vahnt, sav-uh nt; French sa-vahn]

noun, plural sa·vants [sa-vahnts, sav-uh nts; French sa-vahn] /sæˈvɑnts, ˈsæv ənts; French saˈvɑ̃/.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for savant

Contemporary Examples of savant

Historical Examples of savant

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for savant



a man of great learning; sage
Derived Formssavante, fem n

Word Origin for savant

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

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