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In`ge*nu"i*ty (?), n. [L. ingenuitas ingenuousness: cf. F. ingénuité. See Ingenuous.] 1. The quality or power of ready invention; quickness or acuteness in forming new combinations; ingeniousness; skill in devising or combining.
All the means which human ingenuity has contrived. Blair.
2. Curiousness, or cleverness in design or contrivance; as, the ingenuity of a plan, or of mechanism.
He gives . . . Cowper.
To artist ingenuity and skill.
3. Openness of heart; ingenuousness. [Obs.]
The stings and remorses of natural ingenuity, a principle that men scarcely ever shake off, as long as they carry anything of human nature about them. South.
Syn. -- Inventiveness; ingeniousness; skill; cunning; cleverness; genius. -- Ingenuity, Cleverness. Ingenuity is a form of genius, and cleverness of talent. The former implies invention, the letter a peculiar dexterity and readiness of execution. Sir James Mackintosh remarks that the English overdo in the use of the word clever and cleverness, applying them loosely to almost every form of intellectual ability.