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[nesh-uh ns, nesh-ee-uh ns, nes-ee-]
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  1. lack of knowledge; ignorance.
  2. agnosticism.

Origin of nescience

1605–15; < Late Latin nescientia ignorance, equivalent to ne- not + scientia knowledge; see science
Related formsnes·cient, adjectivenon·nes·cience, nounnon·nes·cient, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nescience

Historical Examples

  • In such a naked state of nescience, Valentin had a view and a method of his own.

    The Innocence of Father Brown

    G. K. Chesterton

  • Professor Tyndall's own address terminates, not in science, but nescience.

    Nineteenth Century Questions

    James Freeman Clarke

  • Ignorance cannot convince knowledge by repeated asseveration of its nescience.

    The Way of Initiation

    Rudolf Steiner

  • What we call the historic sense is not consistent with a state of nescience.

    The Gentle Reader

    Samuel McChord Crothers

  • He wished to know the reality of our nescience as well as of our science.

British Dictionary definitions for nescience


  1. a formal or literary word for ignorance
Derived Formsnescient, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin nescientia, from Latin nescīre to be ignorant of, from ne not + scīre to know; compare science
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nescience


"ignorance," 1610s, from Late Latin nescientia, from nesciens (see nescient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper