Is there an expression or word for a person who is or was ahead of time technologically (for example N. Tesla or O. Heaviside in electrical engineering). The person is or was inventor of technology which was a big leap forward. There is the expression "early adopter" but that is not exactly the same.

  • 1
    You're most of the way there already. "Ahead of his/her/their time" is a commonly used phrase in English.
    – user888379
    Jan 20, 2020 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


The best answer is likely to be a synonym for inventor which you mention in your question. Inventor is probably not quite radical enough for your purposes and would exclude people like Albert Einstein and Paul Dirac whose work, although producing revolutionary changes to ways of thought and enabling others to develop new technologies, did not directly involve the production of new objects or materials.

Thesaurus.com suggests a number of synonyms of 'inventor' the most appropriate of which are probably





All of the above carry the implication that the work is highly original and disruptive to the status quo so seem to be suitable answers to your question.

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