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

  • adj. Lacking education or knowledge.
  • adj. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
  • adj. Unaware or uninformed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A person who is untaught or uninformed; one who is unlettered or unskilled; an ignoramus.

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

  • adj. uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication
  • adj. unaware because of a lack of relevant information or knowledge
  • adj. 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.


  • And least of all can he be supposed ignorant of the meaning of a word, which, had it been ever so doubtful before, had a certain meaning impressed upon it by the authority of Parliament, of which no sensible subject can be ignorant_.

    The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D. — Volume 10 Historical Writings

  • I. v.58 (424,1) This ignorant present time] _Ignorant_ has here the signification of _unknowing_; that it, I feel by anticipation these future hours, of which, according to the process of nature, the present time would be _ignorant_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • The root word in ignorant is “ignore,” a verb – therefore, ignorance is “active stupidity.”

    Think Progress » Cohen’s Clarification: Not A Serious Matter

  • It is dangerous because it chains the mind to the external things of life, whereas the totally unlettered (we do not use the term ignorant here) person will, if he have his heart filled with love, perceive the reality of spiritual things that transcend mere knowledge of the physical universe.

    Cosmic Consciousness

  • IF I used the term ignorant (I don't recall, likely due to my advanced years), the word isn't an insult but a word used, generally, to mean unaware or uneducated to the facts.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • Until it was realised by the Taliban that the west would no longer be bankrolling their arms proliferation, and the money had to come from somewhere, boy for someone who likes using the term ignorant, you are guilty of it yourself a lot too. Feed

  • I use the word "ignorant" as it is truly meant to be - that is, "uninformed".

  • Security, politics don't mix, says aide politics on national security and making what it called ignorant allegations about the investigation into the Christmas - Articles related to President Obama's First Year: 'U.S. Foreign Policy Under New Management'

  • Yes, "ignorant" is the proper term for you to use in this situation.

    Clueless on Mars - NASA Watch

  • People want to tell me how to dress yet they cannot even provide a decent clinic or electricity because they are busy stealing money - how stupid and ignorant is that?

    Archive 2009-06-01


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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