Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More
Genius has no ‘o’ in it and yet ingenious does. Why the difference in spelling?
They don't sound alike? Wow, have I been pronouncing them incorrectly the entire time? Or perhaps it's a dialect difference? I've certainly always pronounced "ingenious" (not to be confused with "ingenuous", of course) pretty much exactly the way I pronounce "genius", except with an "in-" at the beginning.
March 23, 2006, 6:23pm
"genius" is a noun."ingenious" is an adjective.
"-ous" is an English adjective ending; "-us" is a noun ending originating from Latin.
Consider the difference between "callus" and "callous".
March 22, 2006, 2:50am
If you pronounce them correctly, they don't sound alike, either.
Ingenious: "intellectual, talented," from M.Fr. ingénieux "clever, ingenious" (O.Fr. engeignos), from L. ingeniosus "of good capacity, gifted with genius," from ingenium "innate qualities, ability," lit. "that which is inborn," from in- "in" + gignere, from PIE *gen- "produce." Sense of "skillful, clever" first recorded 1548
Genius: from L. genius "guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, wit, talent," from root of gignere "beget, produce" (see kin), from PIE base *gen- "produce." Meaning "person of natural intelligence or talent" first recorded 1649.
March 16, 2006, 9:01pm
The word "ingenuous" is not pronounced the same as "ingenious," nor does it share the same meaning.
Ingenuous (in one meaning an obsolete form of "ingenious") has a second meaning referring to innocence, child-like simplicity, demonstrating a lack of subtlety. Pronouced in-jehn-you-us.
Ingenious is the adjective noting aptitude or demonstration of genius. Pronounced in-jeen-yus or in-jean-yuhs.
Similar roots, but different meanings!
July 29, 2008, 12:06pm
The simple answer is that there isn't really a question. If you check the etymology of the two words, you'll find that they don't in fact share a common root as you seem to assume.
March 13, 2006, 1:43am
Gee, I checked and they DO share a common root.
March 16, 2006, 4:31pm
You know what, Avrom? I was thinking the same thing.
March 23, 2006, 9:58pm
Where I come from, genius has two syllables, and ingenious has four. Gen-ius, in-gen-i-ous.
May 18, 2006, 4:01am
I suppose you could pronounce them
ingenious - 'in-jenn-you-us'
genius - 'jean-you-us'
But that would depend upon if you were pro-Jenn, or pro-Jean. (joke)
April 20, 2006, 6:13pm
It gets even more complicated (sticky in both root and meaning) when you throw "ingenuous" into the mix; an example of language as some sort of devil's whore and complicated to teach. Different roots all.
But (the inimitable) languagehat addresses this by way of OED cut/paste here:
March 17, 2006, 11:04am
Thanks! There's less confusion now!
March 22, 2006, 10:58pm
Avrom, Iisabella, the dictionary backs you up. They are pronounced the same.
March 25, 2006, 4:01pm
Yes, I tried the dictionary and listened to its pronounciations earlier: they are the same in the last syllable.
March 28, 2006, 3:43pm
©2016 CYCLE Interactive, LLC.All Rights Reserved.