Genius, genial and ingenious

When used as an incorrect translation of the German words genial or Genie, the English words genial and genie almost constitute an oxymoron. These false friends have a completely different meaning, but are often mixed up by German native speakers.

The German word genial translates into ingenious. However, the true meaning of the English word genial is friendly, cordial, or kind. The correct translation of Genie is genius, and is usually used to for an outstandingly clever or talented person. On the other hand, a genie is a kind of ghost living, for example, in a bottle (you may remember this TV show or this song).

Finally, you may want to listen to the pronunciation of genial and genius.


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