[ig-nuh-rey-muhs, -ram-uhs]

noun, plural ig·no·ra·mus·es.

an extremely ignorant person.

Origin of ignoramus

1570–80; < Latin ignōrāmus we ignore (1st person plural present indicative of ignōrāre to be ignorant of, ignore); hence name of an ignorant lawyer in the play Ignoramus (1615) by the English playwright G. Ruggle, whence current sense

Synonyms for ignoramus

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ignoramus

fool, dunce, idiot, blockhead, imbecile, moron, dimwit, know-nothing, numbskull

Examples from the Web for ignoramus

Contemporary Examples of ignoramus

  • Is he really an ignoramus mistakenly granted admission ahead of deserving students because his parents know the right people?

  • A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama Is Too Good For Us

    Charles Fried

    August 6, 2011

Historical Examples of ignoramus

  • But I am only an ignoramus, and certainly failed to understand everything in it.

  • Here is an ignoramus, and Dogberry is placed on the judge's bench.

  • From this Claude went on to remark with asperity that Murillo painted like an ignoramus.

  • The other women agreed with him, and snubbed the ignoramus, who retired from the controversy.

    Things as They Are

    Amy Wilson-Carmichael

  • Which does not by any means prove that young Tom was an ignoramus.

    Rim o' the World

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for ignoramus


noun plural -muses

an ignorant person; fool

Word Origin for ignoramus

C16: from legal Latin, literally: we have no knowledge of, from Latin ignōrāre to be ignorant of; see ignore; modern usage originated from the use of Ignoramus as the name of an unlettered lawyer in a play by G. Ruggle, 17th-century English dramatist
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 ignoramus

1570s, from an Anglo-French legal term (early 15c.), from Latin ignoramus "we do not know," first person present indicative of ignorare "not to know" (see ignorant). The legal term was one a grand jury could write on a bill when it considered the prosecution's evidence insufficient. Sense of "ignorant person" came from the title role of George Ruggle's 1615 play satirizing the ignorance of common lawyers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper