This question already has an answer here:

What's a word for a person who studies many subjects? Often, the words we use to describe this type of person implies that he/she knows little about each subject (e.g. jack-of-all-trades, dilettante). I'd like to avoid that negative meaning.

e.g. Steve was a true ________; he was well-versed in everything from theoretical physics to gastronomy.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, sumelic, Janus Bahs Jacquet, Helmar, tchrist single-word-requests Nov 13 '16 at 1:36

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


Per Wikipedia:

A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

You could also use Renaissance Man to hearken back to the time when being a generalist didn't make you a ""jack of all trades, master of none". Notice that Wikipedia redirects "Renaissance Man" to "Polymath".

  • And of course polyhistor in parallel to polymath. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 12 '16 at 23:17
  • Note also that these terms have been given in duplicate threads. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 12 '16 at 23:43

How about genius?


genius: a very smart or talented person : a person who has a level of talent or intelligence that is very rare or remarkable

Your example:

Steve was a true genius; he was well-versed in everything from theoretical physics to gastronomy.

  • 1
    No, one can be a genius, yet limited to a single narrow field, e.g. Paul Erdős. Or one can be just reasonably intelligent, but educated in many fields. – jamesqf Nov 13 '16 at 4:58
  • Yes, I agree, but genius often is much broader. Erdos was exceptionally narrow. Consider Einstein instead. There are many others like him. For example, I wouldn't call Leibnitz a polymath. While he was a polymath, I'd still call him a a genius. Most people familiar with him would do the same. – Richard Kayser Nov 13 '16 at 5:23

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