from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lacking education or knowledge.
  • adjective Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge.
  • adjective Unaware or uninformed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Destitute of knowledge in general, or concerning some particular matter; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; unenlightened.
  • Keeping one in ignorance.
  • Unconscious; unaware.
  • Done unconsciously or innocently; unknown to one's self as being of the kind mentioned.
  • Showing want of knowledge; arising from or caused by ignorance: as, an ignorant proceeding; ignorant remarks.
  • Synonyms Ignorant, Illiterate, Unlettered, Unlearned, uneducated. Ignorant is the most general of these words (as, he is an ignorant fellow), except where it is limited to some subject or point (as, ignorant of the ways of the world). Illiterate means not having read or studied, or, specifically, not able to read. The illiterate are presumably ignorant outside of their own work, but not necessarily so; the ignorant are necessarily illiterate. In modern times it is as reprehensible to be illiterate as to be ignorant. Unlettered is used sometimes for illiterate and sometimes for unlearned, with corresponding measures of blame. Unlearned —that is, not learned—is, like ignorant, either general or special: as, to be unlearned in theology; as learning is the privilege of few, it is not especially blameworthy to be even generally unlearned.
  • noun A person who is untaught or uninformed; one who is unlettered or unskilled; an ignoramus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Destitute of knowledge; uninstructed or uninformed; untaught; unenlightened.
  • adjective Unacquainted with; unconscious or unaware; -- used with of.
  • adjective obsolete Unknown; undiscovered.
  • adjective Resulting from ignorance; foolish; silly.
  • noun A person untaught or uninformed; one unlettered or unskilled; an ignoramous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Unknowledgeable or uneducated; characterized by ignorance.
  • adjective slang Ill-mannered, crude.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication
  • adjective unaware because of a lack of relevant information or knowledge
  • adjective uneducated in the fundamentals of a given art or branch of learning; lacking knowledge of a specific field


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ignoraunt, from Old French ignorant, from Latin ignōrāns, ignōrant-, present participle of ignōrāre, to be ignorant, not to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.]


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  • But one immediately reflects that the American Indian, who was ignorant by the same standards, nevertheless knew how to live in the country without making violence the invariable mode of his relation to it ... Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008