ignorant

adjective
ig·​no·​rant | \ ˈig-n(ə-)rənt How to pronounce ignorant (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web To then speak up when discrimination occurs and educate when someone is ignorant. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US fencer subjected to racist abuse on Zoom call gets little support," 25 Apr. 2020 His works were not without controversy: Some critics viewed his stances on Third World countries as too Westernized, bigoted, misogynistic, and ignorant, while others viewed his many novels on Islam as an overall attack on religion. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Novelist V.S. Naipaul Passes Away at 85," 12 Aug. 2018 Was James really calling him ignorant for supporting those fighting against the slow invasion of oppression? Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: For LeBron James, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere … except in China," 15 Oct. 2019 The excessive mortality in Kidderpore appears to be due mainly to the large coolie population, ignorant and poverty-stricken, living under most insanitary conditions in damp, dark, dirty huts. Maura Chhun, The Conversation, "1918 flu pandemic killed 12 million Indians, and British overlords’ indifference strengthened the anti-colonial movement," 17 Apr. 2020 And revealing that many people are still ignorant as to how diverse families can look today. Mike Andrade-heymsfield, Quartz, "My interracial marriage unintentionally became a protest in the Trump era," 6 Dec. 2019 Poverty and ignorant employers lead to anger, and the anger leads to sickness. Lisa Marie Basile, SELF, "I'm Furious That It Took Almost a Decade to Diagnose My Chronic Pain," 16 Oct. 2019 Their ignorant crisis-babble is why electorates everywhere now believe climate and prosperity are necessarily at odds. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Press Is the Enemy of Climate," 4 Dec. 2018 At first, criticism of this decision focused on the prospect that our prodigiously ignorant, easily flattered commander-in-chief would get suckered into a lopsided peace deal. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Donald Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now," 21 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of ignorant

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

History and Etymology for ignorant

see ignore

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ignorant

Time Traveler for ignorant

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ignorant

Last Updated

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ignorant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignorant. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ignorant

ignorant

adjective
How to pronounce ignorant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ignorant

: lacking knowledge or information
: resulting from or showing a lack of knowledge

ignorant

adjective
ig·​no·​rant | \ ˈig-nə-rənt How to pronounce ignorant (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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