A person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of unprecedented insight. The term is used in various ways: to refer to a particular aspect of an individual, or the individual in his or her entirety; to a scholar in many subjects or a scholar in a single subject. Research into what causes genius and mastery is still in its early stages, and psychology offers relevant insights.
- In ancient Rome, the genius (plural in Latin genii) was the guiding spirit or tutelary deity of a person, family (gens), or place (genius loci). The noun is related to the Latin verb gigno, genui, genitus, "to bring into being, create, produce." Because the achievements of exceptional individuals seemed to indicate the presence of a particularly powerful genius, by the time of Augustus the word began to acquire its secondary meaning of "inspiration, talent."