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idiot savant (ID-ee-uht sa-VAHNT) noun
A person with autism or some other mental disability who is exceptionally gifted in a highly specialized field, such as math (rapid mental calculation) or music (ability to play a complex piece of music after hearing it only once).
This term is now outdated. Autistic savant is the current term.
[From French, literally learned idiot.]
"I thought of him as a kind of idiot-savant - a man who had flashes of insight and brilliance. And he also had a great spirit." Dan Harper; Save the Eccentrics; Santa Cruz Sentinel (California); Mar 21, 2004.
"The author, a self-proclaimed idiot savant, explains his motivation for the book on its back cover." Drawing From Life; National Post (Canada); Mar 2, 2004.
This week's theme: Words that appear contradictory.
Love is like war; easy to begin but very hard to stop. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)