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  • n., a mistake due to ignorance

    July 9, 2008

  • Here is what OED3 says about this non-word:

    The only citation is from 1737:

    The <i>Plain Account</i> is so infamous, you ought to be asham'd to own, <i>you submit to it.</i> 'Tis well if you did not write it your self: It has 92 Errors or <i>Ignotoisms</i> in it.

    The word appears in the context of a long-running theological debate in The Gentleman's Magazine taking the form of correspondence between a person going by the name ‘Ignoto’ (i.e. ‘Anonymous’) and readers of the magazine.

    As a result of a misreading, N.E.D. (1899) entered the quotation under the headword ignotism with the definition ‘A mistake due to ignorance’.

    So ignotism never really existed at all: the word is Ignotoism and OED 3 glosses it as "an error typical of Ignoto".

    July 26, 2023