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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for savant
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Historical Examples
  • Thus, with the selfishness of an epicure and the tastes of a savant, he surrounded himself with the most luxurious elegance.

    Mabel's Mistake Ann S. Stephens
  • This persistency had struck the savant, and he asked a mutual friend to introduce him.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Thus, perhaps, we may name ten poet-gamesters to one savant or philosopher who deserved the title or infamy.

  • A comparison reveals that the one author is not a cook while the other is not a savant.

  • In the evening the gentleman, being a savant, goes to the Wister Society, and afterwards plays a snug rubber at a neighbour's.

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

    Mizora: A Prophecy Mary E. Bradley
  • I am only too glad to please and gratify the student and the savant.

    Remarks Bill Nye
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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