Word + Quiz: savant

Word + Quiz: savant

Note: Our Sixth Annual 15-Second Vocabulary Video Challenge is underway. It will run until Feb. 18.

: someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field


The word savant has appeared in 59 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Jan. 9 in “Train Your Brain Like a Memory Champion” by Bryan Clark:

In training like a memory champion, it’s really the visual that’s most important. Each technique we covered capitalizes on the ability to visualize memories rather than simply attempting to recall them. This, as our team of experts notes, is an exercise in futility.

There’s nothing, physiologically speaking, separating memory athletes from people who forget where their keys are or can’t remember what they had for breakfast this morning. The difference is in the training methods, and the time spent in mastering them.

“Overall, I’d say you definitely don’t need to be a savant to have a great memory,” Mr. Mullen said. “If you’re sincerely engaged with a few tricks up your sleeve, you might surprise yourself.”