[ ig-ner-uhnt ]
/ ˈɪg nər ənt /


lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man.
lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact: ignorant of quantum physics.
uninformed; unaware.
due to or showing lack of knowledge or training: an ignorant statement.

Origin of ignorant

1325–75; Middle English ignora(u)nt < Latin ignōrant- (stem of ignōrāns), present participle of ignōrāre to ignore; see -ant
Related forms
Can be confusedignorant stupid

Synonym study

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.

Word story

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

British Dictionary definitions for self-ignorant


/ (ˈɪɡnərənt) /


lacking in knowledge or education; unenlightened
(postpositive often foll by of) lacking in awareness or knowledge (of)ignorant of the law
resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or awarenessan ignorant remark
Derived Formsignorantly, 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

Word Origin and History for self-ignorant



late 14c., from Old French ignorant (14c.), from Latin ignorantia, from ignorantem (nominative ignorans), present participle of ignorare "not to know, to be unacquainted; mistake, misunderstand; take no notice of, pay no attention to," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + Old Latin gnarus "aware, acquainted with" (cf. Classical Latin noscere "to know," notus "known"), from Proto-Latin suffixed form *gno-ro-, related to gnoscere "to know" (see know).

Form influenced by Latin ignotus "unknown." Cf. also uncouth. Colloquial sense of "ill-mannered" first attested 1886. As a noun meaning "ignorant person" from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper