[ ig-ner-uhnt ]
See synonyms for: ignorantignorantly on Thesaurus.com

  1. lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: Although he was an ignorant man, he was very excited to learn.

  2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact: I admit I'm entirely ignorant of quantum physics.

  1. uninformed; unaware: You'd have to be pretty ignorant not to have heard this news.

  2. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training: Everyone makes an ignorant statement or two when they're first starting out.

Origin of ignorant

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English ignora(u)nt, from Latin ignōrant-, stem of ignōrāns “not knowing,” present participle of ignōrāre “to not know”; see ignore, -ant

confusables note For ignorant

See stupid.

synonym study For ignorant

1. Ignorant, illiterate, unlettered, uneducated mean lacking in knowledge or in training. Ignorant may mean knowing little or nothing, or it may mean uninformed about a particular subject: An ignorant person can be dangerous. I confess I'm ignorant of mathematics. Illiterate originally meant lacking a knowledge of literature or similar learning, but is most often applied now to one unable to read or write: necessary training for illiterate soldiers. Unlettered emphasizes the idea of being without knowledge of literature: unlettered though highly trained in science. Uneducated refers especially to lack of schooling or to lack of access to a body of knowledge equivalent to that learned in schools: uneducated but highly intelligent. None of these words mean "lacking in intelligence."

word story For ignorant

Ignorant comes via Old French from Latin ignōrant-, the inflectional stem of ignōrāns, the present participle of ignōrāre “to be unaware of, be ignorant of, not know.” Ignōrāre also means “to disregard” and is the source of English ignore. Ignōrāre is related to the Latin verb gnoscere (more commonly noscere ) “to know,” from the same Proto-Indo-European root gnō- “to know” as English know and Slavic (Polish) znać “to know.” An interesting use of ignorant appears in Mark Twain’s “Old Times on the Mississippi,” an essay he wrote for The Atlantic Monthly in 1875 and that was later incorporated into chapter 4 of Life on the Mississippi (1883): “This fellow had money, too, and hair oil. Also an ignorant silver watch and a showy brass watch chain.” By transferring the “lacking in knowledge” sense of ignorant from human beings to an object, the ever-clever Twain beautifully and succinctly described a timepiece that doesn’t tell the correct time.

Other words for ignorant

Opposites for ignorant

Other words from ignorant

  • ig·no·rant·ly, adverb
  • non·ig·no·rant, adjective
  • non·ig·no·rant·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-ig·no·rant, adjective
  • qua·si-ig·no·rant·ly, adverb
  • self-ig·no·rant, adjective
  • su·per·ig·no·rant, adjective
  • su·per·ig·no·rant·ly, adverb
  • un·ig·no·rant, adjective
  • un·ig·no·rant·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with ignorant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ignorant in a sentence

  • Yet Shapiro ignorantly, politically insists that “no one knows what demons plagued Hoffman.”

  • He was an accomplished scholar, and he was as clean-souled as a child,—but not weakly or ignorantly so.

    Unveiling a Parallel | Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Marchant
  • The private secretary was scientific—as a bookkeeper—but as a nurse she was ignorantly human.

    The Incubator Baby | Ellis Parker Butler
  • Their decoration was either wilfully or ignorantly founded on the realism of the Middle Ages.

    The Life of James McNeill Whistler | Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • Instinctively they all knelt down together to discover, if possible, and administer ignorantly to, its wants.

    A Christmas Mystery | William J. Locke
  • They had ignorantly done something (I forget what) in the town, which barely brought them within the operation of the law.

    The Moonstone | Wilkie Collins

British Dictionary definitions for ignorant


/ (ˈɪɡnərənt) /

  1. lacking in knowledge or education; unenlightened

  2. (postpositive often foll by of) lacking in awareness or knowledge (of): ignorant of the law

  1. resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or awareness: an ignorant remark

Derived forms of ignorant

  • ignorantly, adverb

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