- an ignorant or totally uninformed person; ignoramus.
- an agnostic.
- (initial capital letters) U.S. History. a member of a political party (American party or Know-Nothing party) prominent from 1853 to 1856, whose aim was to keep control of the government in the hands of native-born citizens: so called because members originally professed ignorance of the party's activities.
- a person whose anti-intellectualism, xenophobia, and other political attitudes recall the Know-Nothings.
- grossly ignorant; totally uninformed.
- (initial capital letters) of or relating to the Know-Nothings.
- of or relating to a political know-nothing.
Origin of know-nothing
Examples from the Web for know-nothing
Such revelations seem like the dream come true of know-nothing anti-Catholicism.The Vatican's Sex Cover-up
March 11, 2010
Predictably enough, a certain brand of know-nothing militarist sees the need for yet another war.Fighting Yemen's Terror Factory
December 31, 2009
Now the Russians recognize that Obama will be very different from his know-nothing predecessor.Cold War II?
November 17, 2008
To be sure, patriot-Americans are not know-nothing nativists or backwater rubes, nor are post-Americans traitors.A 'Black President' Is of No Value to America
November 4, 2008
Stuck in this know-nothing Helstonleigh, I can only state the fact that they are made.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
After all I didn't actually accuse David of being a know-nothing.Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer
Jessie Graham Flower
Then came the parting of the ways,—Republican, Democrat, or Know-nothing?The Negro and the Nation
George S. Merriam
Seems as if there was something the matter with you, beyond what that know-nothing doctor said.Reels and Spindles
These are the publications which, in part at least, have given rise to the Know-Nothing organization, so cordially hated by you.
- informal, derogatory an ignorant person
Word Origin and History for know-nothing
"ignoramus," 1827, from know + nothing. As a U.S. nativist political party, active 1853-56, the name refers to the secret society at the core of the party, about which members were instructed to answer, if asked about it, that they "know nothing." The party eventually merged into the Republican Party.