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Ignorance is bliss

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Not knowing something is often more comfortable than knowing it.

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notes for Ignorance is bliss

This proverb resembles “What you don't know cannot hurt you.” It figures in a passage from “On a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” by the eighteenth-century English poet Thomas Gray: “Where ignorance is bliss, / ‘Tis folly to be wise.’”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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ignorance is bliss

What you don't know won't hurt you. For example, She decided not to read the critics' reviews—ignorance is bliss. Although its truth may be dubious at best, this idea has been expressed since ancient times. The actual wording, however, comes from Thomas Gray's poem, “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” (1742): “Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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