I am struggling to think of a word for this to be used if you are to describe someone who has an aptitude for using experience in one field, say mechanics and applying it to say biology. This adaptability. Maybe it's a just a description of the knowledge itself. Can anyone help me out? This word or phrase escapes me

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    I don't know about adaptability. Perhaps someone who is isn't limited by the artificial compartments into which knowledge is pigeonholed. Someone who can think "out of the box." Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 21:57
  • Well, there's "polymath", but it doesn't quite fit your requirements.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 22:03
  • Does it have to bea real word? Sci-fi writer A. E. van Vogt coined the word nexialist in his 1950 fix-up novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle.
    – bof
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 10:57

3 Answers 3


Such a person would have the ability to work in a cross-disciplinary manner.

Whether anyone has coined a word like 'cross disciplianarian' I don't know but even if it exists with the meaning you require I fear that most people would take it to refer to an annoyed schoolmaster or military drill sergeant.


The answer I was looking for was 'lateral thinking'!

  • Remember to accept this as soon as you can. Also, don't edit the answer into the question, just tick this one instead. Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 15:18

I would say they are eclectic:

2 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles

In particular, this not only says that they have knowledge from multiple disciplines, but that they are also good at using the best aspects of each of those disciplines.

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