Definitions of genius

  1. A good or evil spirit, or demon, supposed by the ancients to preside over a man's destiny in life; a tutelary deity; a supernatural being; a spirit, good or bad. Cf. Jinnee.
  2. The peculiar structure of mind with whoch each individual is endowed by nature; that disposition or aptitude of mind which is peculiar to each man, and which qualifies him for certain kinds of action or special success in any pursuit; special taste, inclination, or disposition; as, a genius for history, for poetry, or painting.
  3. Peculiar character; animating spirit, as of a nation, a religion, a language.
  4. Distinguished mental superiority; uncommon intellectual power; especially, superior power of invention or origination of any kind, or of forming new combinations; as, a man of genius.
  5. A man endowed with uncommon vigor of mind; a man of superior intellectual faculties; as, Shakespeare was a rare genius.
  6. Bent of mind or disposition; remarkable ability or natural fitness for some special pursuit, etc.; character or necessary principle; embodiment; a person possessed of high mental powers or faculties; a good or evil spirit supposed to preside over the destinies of men.
  7. A good or evil spirit, supposed by the ancients to preside over every person, place, and thing, and esp. to preside over a man's destiny from his birth:- pl. GENII.
  8. The special inborn faculty of any individual: special taste or disposition qualifying for a particular employment: superior inborn power of mind: a man having such power of mind: peculiar constitution or character of anything:- pl. GENIUSES, - GENIUS, WISDOM, ABILITIES, TALENTS, PARTS, INGENUITY, CAPACITY, CLEVERNESS. " Genius is the power of new combination, and may be shown in a campaign, a plan of policy, a steam- engine, a system of philosophy, or an epic poem. It seems to require seriousness and some dignity in the purpose. … In weaving together the parts of an argument, or the incidents of a tale, it receives the inferior name of ingenuity. Wisdom is the habitual employment of a patient and comprehensive understanding in combining various and remote means to promote the happiness of mankind. ... Abilities may be exerted in conduct or in the arts and sciences, but rather in the former. ... Talents are the power of executing well a conception, either original or adopted. ... Parts have lost a considerable portion of their dignity. They were used in the last century perhaps almost in the sense in which we now rather employ talents. ... Capacity is a power of acquiring. It is most remarkable in the different degree of facility with which different men acquire a language."- Sir J. Mackintosh. To the above it may be added that properly capacity is passive power, or the power of receiving, while ability is active power, or the power of doing". Cleverness designates mental dexterity and quickness, and is evidenced by facility in acquiring a new subject, or by happy smartness in expressing one's conceptions.
  9. Good or evil spirit presiding over one's destiny.
  10. Special taste or faculty; in born mental power; person endowned with special powers of mind.
  11. Exalted intellectual power and creative ability.
  12. Remarkable special aptitude.
  13. A person of remarkable intellect and creative power.
  14. A beneficent guardian spirit.
  15. The supposed protecting or ruling power of men or places; an imaginary spirit; the natural bent or disposition of mind by which a person is qualified for some particular employment; high mental powers or faculties; a person possessed of uncommon intellectual faculties.