ig·​no·​ra·​mus | \ ˌig-nə-ˈrā-məs How to pronounce ignoramus (audio) also -ˈra- How to pronounce ignoramus (audio) \
plural ignoramuses also ignorami\ ˌig-​nə-​ˈrā-​mē How to pronounce ignoramus (audio) also  -​ˈra-​ \

Definition of ignoramus

: an utterly ignorant person : dunce

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Ignoramus is the title of a farce by George Ruggle (1575-1622) that was first produced in 1615. The title character, whose name in Latin literally means "we do not know," is a lawyer who fancies himself to be quite shrewd but is actually foolish and ignorant. Ruggle may have been inspired in his choice of name for his character by a proceeding in the English judicial system. The term ignoramus was written on bills of indictment when the evidence presented seemed insufficient to justify prosecution. In these cases ignoramus indicated "we take no notice of (i.e., we do not recognize) this indictment." Such a reference would have been most appropriate for Ruggle's satire of the judiciary.

Examples of ignoramus in a Sentence

I can't believe they let an ignoramus like that run the company. only an ignoramus would be foiled by the building's security system
Recent Examples on the Web No one is asking him to embrace the full Ginsburg and declare himself a disrespectful ignoramus. James Freeman, WSJ, 27 Dec. 2021 Is there a list of protocols that I would be marked as a real ignoramus for ignoring? Washington Post, 28 June 2021 Could Field & Stream take a hunting know-nothing, a gun ignoramus-in other words, someone like me—and send her on one of the toughest hunts in North America? Susan Casey, Field & Stream, 6 Dec. 2020 But his vocabulary infuriated some word nerds who say irregardless is an invention employed by ignoramuses. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, 19 Dec. 2019 But onto the upper film Of supple, silky snow The blush, breaks and bleeds The purity of the sky That has landed unscathed Betrayal is like the ignoramus of a leech Amber McCrary is Diné zinester, feminist and writer. Arizona Republic, azcentral, 28 June 2018 The part of the problem of the president has is his dealing with ignoramuses spoken inside his party and outside of his party and some whom are dressed up as lawyers. Fox News, 4 May 2018 Murray got the worse of it, but at minimum, I’m painted as a total ignoramus, right? Ezra Klein, Vox, 9 Apr. 2018 But that doesn't mean his staffers are iGnoramuses as well. Newsweek, 14 Mar. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ignoramus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ignoramus

circa 1616, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ignoramus

Ignoramus, ignorant lawyer in Ignoramus (1615), play by George Ruggle, from Latin, literally, we are ignorant of

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The first known use of ignoramus was circa 1616

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ignoramus waltz

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Cite this Entry

“Ignoramus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoramus. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for ignoramus


ig·​no·​ra·​mus | \ ˌig-nə-ˈrā-məs How to pronounce ignoramus (audio) \

Legal Definition of ignoramus

: no bill at bill 3b

More from Merriam-Webster on ignoramus

Nglish: Translation of ignoramus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignoramus for Arabic Speakers


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