Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 14, 2017 is:
savant • \sa-VAHNT\ • noun
1 : a person of learning; especially : one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature)
“His conversation, I remember, was about the Bertillon system of measurements, and he expressed his enthusiastic admiration of the French savant.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, 1893
“It’s romantic to imagine that every artist is a brilliant lone wolf savant who sends his pages by carrier pigeon to an awestruck editor who sends them out into the world as is, but that’s really not how it works….” — Dana Schwartz, The New York Observer, 1 May 2017
Did you know?
Savant comes from Latin sapere (“to be wise”) by way of Middle French, where savant is the present participle of savoir, meaning “to know.” Savant shares roots with the English words sapient (“possessing great wisdom”) and sage (“having or showing wisdom through reflection and experience”). The term is sometimes used in common parlance to refer to a person who demonstrates extraordinary knowledge in a particular subject, or an extraordinary ability to perform a particular task (such as complex arithmetic), but who has much more limited capacities in other areas.