Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can the word 'genius' be used as an adjective?

For example: 'A genius plan' or 'This is a genius piece of work'?

share|improve this question
Yes, but using wizard instead gets you bonus points. –  intuited Apr 4 '11 at 8:22
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The simple answer is, yes.

This usage of 'genius' as an adjective is relatively new and would still be considered by many (including me) as slang. In that vein, the following would also be acceptable:

my genius girlfriend

Your plan is genius!

However, it would be more standard (and advised in formal settings) to use the word 'ingenious' in all of these examples, including your own, as it is an adjective.


an ingenious plan

an ingenious piece of work

my ingenious girlfriend

Your plan is ingenious.

As a note, I imagine that the use of 'genius' as an adjective has in fact arisen as a mistaken combination of the two words 'genius' and 'ingenious' in much the same way as the erroneous 'irregardless' has come from 'regardless' and 'irrespective'.

Also, not to be confused with ingenuous.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.