What word have I forgotten?
June 16, 2009 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Help me remember an adjective meaning extremely gifted, normally applied to a child. It's not anything obvious. :(

Okay, bedtime was an hour ago, and almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, my lines of thinking were disrupted by not remembering a word. Between now and then, I've struggled and strained to try and come up with the missing term, but it's just not happening.

The word I have in mind (or not in mind, I guess) almost always applies to children. It's an adjective and means the individual to which it applies has especially strong talents in a given area -- or perhaps even in all areas. I've read through articles on "giftedness," "savant," and "wunderkind" in hopes of finding the missing word used, but unfortunately all such efforts have been for naught.

I'm not sure if this helps, but a sentence in which this word would be found is "Timmy was a very xxxxx boy and thus had difficulty making friends." For some reason I'm thinking it may sound similar to either "coquettish" or "obsolescence," but at this point that may be nothing over and above wishful thinking. Additionally, my memory-spelunking adventures keep being undone by the word "prodigal," which isn't at all related to "prodigy."

Please come up with the answer so I can go to sleep! Thanks!
posted by mllrstvn to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:50 PM on June 16, 2009

posted by jschu at 8:50 PM on June 16, 2009

I love you both. How on earth did I forget that?

Yay, bed!
posted by mllrstvn at 8:51 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

precocious seems like the most obvious answer, but you said it was not obvious, so perhaps we are all wrong. now i am stuck on it though, and since it fits, i'm going to put in my vote for it. precocious!
posted by timory at 8:52 PM on June 16, 2009

It was only non-obvious because I'm a forgetful-Fred. I was attempting to stave off the "oh, oh, smart!" brigade. ;) <3.
posted by mllrstvn at 8:53 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by amanda at 8:54 PM on June 16, 2009

Argh! Both not-previewing and skimming did me in!
posted by amanda at 8:56 PM on June 16, 2009

Adroit, brilliant, capable, ingenious, phenomenal/phenomenon, child genius, curiosity, marvel, mastermind, natural, whiz kid, boy/girl wonder, polymath, virtuoso, precocious?
posted by orange swan at 8:59 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by flabdablet at 9:02 PM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

perspicacious is my fave
posted by nonmerci at 10:29 PM on June 16, 2009

Yeah, it was definitely precocious, but before you use it be sure it's really what you want to say. That's literally 'ripens early', as a child who is wise beyond their years, and it can connote smart-assery or other inappropriate faux-maturity.

'Gifted' is more clearly a positive thing. 'Precocious' can be a double-edged blade.
posted by rokusan at 7:26 AM on June 17, 2009 [4 favorites]

there are no 'Adult prodigies'. There are only Child Prodigy's
posted by charles_farley at 4:50 PM on June 17, 2009

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