ig·​no·​rant | \ˈig-n(ə-)rənt \

Definition of ignorant 

1a : destitute of knowledge or education an ignorant society also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified parents ignorant of modern mathematics

b : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence ignorant errors

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Other Words from ignorant

ignorantly adverb
ignorantness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ignorant

ignorant, illiterate, unlettered, untutored, unlearned mean not having knowledge. ignorant may imply a general condition or it may apply to lack of knowledge or awareness of a particular thing. an ignorant fool ignorant of nuclear physics illiterate applies to either an absolute or a relative inability to read and write. much of the population is still illiterate unlettered implies ignorance of the knowledge gained by reading. an allusion meaningless to the unlettered untutored may imply lack of schooling in the arts and ways of civilization. strange monuments built by an untutored people unlearned suggests ignorance of advanced subjects. poetry not for academics but for the unlearned masses

The Polite and Not-So-Polite Uses of Ignorant

Ignorant shares a root with the word ignore, one of those etymological connections which appear obvious once they are pointed out, yet remained overlooked by most. Both words come from the Latin ignorare (“to ignore, be ignorant of”). There are several meanings of ignorant, all of which are concerned with a lack of knowledge in some sense; some of these are more insulting than others, and care should be exercised before applying this word to people who you do not wish to offend. Saying “They were ignorant of most of the laws of physics” means that the people in question did not have a specific body of learning. Saying “You are an ignorant person” is possibly describing someone as primitive, crude, or uncivilized.

Examples of ignorant in a Sentence

… the World Series of the wild-card era is the pull of a slot-machine lever, a game of chance ignorant of form. Regularly populated now with second-place clubs or flavor-of-the-month teams more than dominant regular-season franchises … — Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 30 Oct. 2006 That may be especially true for today's … 13-year-olds, whose own moms and dads grew up largely ignorant of car seats, bike helmets, antibacterial soaps and childproof locks … — Nancy Gibbs, Time, 8 Aug. 2005 The joke is that the film was not his work. To refer to a producer's oeuvre is, at least to me, as ignorant as to refer to the oeuvre of a stockbroker. — David Mamet, Jafsie and John Henry: Essays, 1999 He is an ignorant old racist. She was ignorant about the dangers of the drug. It was an ignorant mistake.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Eliminating basic functions of NOAA is foolhardy, ignorant, shortsighted, and very stupid. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "Ocean science agency chief suggests removing 'climate' from mission statement," 25 June 2018 Some senators are woefully ignorant about how the Internet works. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Facebook's Zuckerberg got grilled, but nothing's really changed," 14 Apr. 2018 Hating hours or closed so keep your ignorant comments to yourself 😂🤷🏽‍♂️ — CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) March 9, 2018 Here's the Twitter reaction from the Browns: The team account was all eyes emojis. Alysha Tsuji, USA TODAY, "Browns players react to trades on Twitter," 9 Mar. 2018 As the meltdown continues, someone in the background interrupts him and calls him ignorant. Faith Karimi, CNN, "NY man to people speaking Spanish at restaurant: 'My next call is to ICE'," 17 May 2018 They were shocked America was ignorant of the geniuses living right here in our own backyard. David Ritz, Billboard, "Buddy Guy Talks Enlisting Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to Ensure 'The Blues Is Alive and Well'," 15 June 2018 Most people, especially those raised in urban environments (most, these days), are painfully ignorant of alligator behavior. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Wildlife is wild, so admire from afar," 13 June 2018 Granted, that might have been ignorant because people run completely fine, but 26 miles is different than just, like, three or four. Helin Jung, Cosmopolitan, "26-Year-Old Woman Free Bleeds Proudly Through Her First Marathon," 6 Aug. 2015 He was called a slew of names, including ignorant and an NRA terrorist. Emilie Ikeda, Fox News, "Gun-themed campaign ads fill airwaves as 2nd Amendment debate heats up," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ignorant.' 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 ignorant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ignorant

see ignore

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Statistics for ignorant

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ignorant

The first known use of ignorant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ignorant



English Language Learners Definition of ignorant

: lacking knowledge or information

: resulting from or showing a lack of knowledge


ig·​no·​rant | \ˈig-nə-rənt \

Kids Definition of ignorant

1 : having little or no knowledge : not educated

2 : not knowing : unaware They're ignorant of the facts.

3 : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge It was an ignorant mistake.

Other Words from ignorant

ignorantly adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ignorant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ignorant

Spanish Central: Translation of ignorant

Nglish: Translation of ignorant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ignorant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ignorant

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


to express warning or disapproval

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