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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for ignoramus



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

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 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, "F&S Classics: An Improbable Elk Hunt," 6 Dec. 2020 But his vocabulary infuriated some word nerds who say irregardless is an invention employed by ignoramuses. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The impeachment debate has sparked a linguistic war over the word “irregardless”," 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, "Poetry spot: 'Raspberries do not blush in the sky' by Amber McCrary," 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, "DiGenova: It's clear the Mueller team is acting in bad faith," 4 May 2018 Murray got the worse of it, but at minimum, I’m painted as a total ignoramus, right? Ezra Klein, Vox, "Ezra and Sam Harris debate race, IQ, identity politics, and much more.," 9 Apr. 2018 But that doesn't mean his staffers are iGnoramuses as well. Newsweek, "Analysis," 14 Mar. 2018 By all accounts, Ryan and McConnell and the people closest to them see the president as a reckless ignoramus. Reihan Salam, Slate Magazine, "Trump the Triangulator," 8 Sep. 2017 Dissenters and skeptics are derided as Flat Earthers and scientific ignoramuses. Rupert Darwall, National Review, "The Spiral of Silence," 1 Nov. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ignoramus

Time Traveler for ignoramus

Time Traveler

The first known use of ignoramus was circa 1616

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about ignoramus

Statistics for ignoramus

Cite this Entry

“Ignoramus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoramus. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ignoramus



English Language Learners Definition of ignoramus

: a person who does not know much : an ignorant or stupid person


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

Legal Definition of ignoramus

: no bill at bill 3b

Comments on ignoramus

What made you want to look up ignoramus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!