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Q: Origin, History & Meaning(s) of the word/term "Genius" ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Origin, History & Meaning(s) of the word/term "Genius"
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: genabean-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 02 Jul 2004 11:45 PDT
Expires: 01 Aug 2004 11:45 PDT
Question ID: 368992
I am interested in the origin, history & meaning(s) of the word/term "Genius"
Subject: Re: Origin, History & Meaning(s) of the word/term "Genius"
Answered By: juggler-ga on 02 Jul 2004 12:03 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars

"Genius: A word with a long and complicated history, as this
information from the OED shows. In Latin, the word usually meant "The
tutelary god or attendant spirit allotted to every person at his
birth, to govern his fortunes and determine his character, and finally
to conduct him out of the world"; in later Latin, it often meant "A
demon or spiritual being in general." A common English sense beginning
in the seventeenth century was "With reference to a nation, age, etc.:
Prevalent feeling, opinion, sentiment, or taste; distinctive
character, or spirit." Another seventeenth-century development was
"Natural ability or capacity; quality of mind; the special endowments
which fit a man for his peculiar work" (first attested in Milton's
Eikonoklastes, 1649).
... a newer sense: "Native intellectual power of an exalted type, such
as is attributed to those who are esteemed greatest in any department
of art, speculation, or practice; instinctive and extraordinary
capacity for imaginative creation, original thought, invention, or
discovery. Often contrasted with talent." The OED's usage note is
revealing: "This sense . . . appears to have been developed in the
18th c. . . . The word had come to be applied with especial frequency
to the kind of intellectual power manifested by poets and artists; and
when in this application 'genius,' as native endowment, came to be
contrasted with the aptitudes that can be acquired by study, the
approach to the modern sense was often very close. . . . It was by the
Ger[man] writers of the [later] 18th c. that the distinction between
'genius' and 'talent,' which had some foundation in Fr[ench] usage,
was sharpened into the strong antithesis which is now universally
current." The use of genius to refer to a person endowed with this
sense of genius is first attested in 1647..."
Selections from The Spectator

For a long, detailed explanation of the origin, history & meanings of
"genius," visit:
"The Power of Genius"

Also see:
1911 Encylopedia Genius


"Awakening Genius in the Classroom"

search strategy:
"word genius"
"word genius" romans
"genius * word"
"genius * word" romans

I hope this helps.
genabean-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars

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