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 ignorami (audio) also  -​ˈra-​ \

Definition of ignoramus

: an utterly ignorant person : dunce

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ignoramus



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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 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 Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump have all been accorded this treatment by Hollywood ignoramuses who have incandescent emotions fixed to rigid attitudes unconnected to any historical knowledge. Conrad Black, National Review, "Trump’s Bold Defense of America," 21 Sep. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for ignoramus

Time Traveler

The first known use of ignoramus was circa 1616

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Cite this Entry

“Ignoramus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignoramus. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ignoramus


How to pronounce ignoramus (audio) How to pronounce ignoramus (audio)

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

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