Originally meaning "personality" (16th cent.). The modern meanings date to the 19th cent. From Latin genius "wit," "talent." Earlier meaning was as a source of strength, and before that as the spirit of a people - which begat a second meaning in Latin of a guardian spirit (see genio (2). From gens "clan," "household" (see gente).
Romance: Western Vulgar Latin: Portuguese génio, Catalan geni, French génie, Italian genio; Eastern Vulgar Latin: Romanian geniu