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

Harris defines herself as black, and debating that point is politically ignorant for anyone hoping to oust President Donald Trump. Gary Abernathy, Twin Cities, "Gary Abernathy: No one makes Trump as unsteady as Kamala Harris does," 7 July 2019 And being reckless, unsafe or ignorant when using fireworks can lead to serious, even fatal, consequences. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "Report shows most deaths and injuries caused by fireworks could have easily been avoided," 3 July 2019 Only the willfully blind and the terminally ignorant fail to see that the cause is climate change. Hasan Zillur Rahim, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Thoreau looms large on Independence Day," 3 July 2019 That said, this holiday will be a bumpy ride for justice fans. Reparations-talk brings out the worst in some people, and the ignorant in others. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Happy Juneteenth: RaceAhead," 19 June 2019 Fasting is a shield, so the one who fasts should avoid obscene speech and ignorant behavior. Eslah Attar, National Geographic, "The sighting of the new crescent moon marks the start of Ramadan, the most sacred month in Islamic culture.," 12 June 2019 Others, like Huck Finn's dubious riverboat dauphin, count on the people around them to be ignorant of aristocratic mores and genealogical charts and awed by the idea of nobility. Sadie Stein, Town & Country, "Why Are Rich People So Easily Fooled?," 26 Feb. 2017 Pity the poor shopper who enters the light-bulb aisle ignorant of the evolutionary changes to Ole’ Tom’s electric arc lamp, as it was originally called. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Let There Be Light: A Smart Buyer’s Guide to Light Bulbs," 14 June 2019 Their ignorant comment solicited an outpouring of support from the medical community. Christina M. Reimer, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Colorado doctors need research to help them prevent gun deaths," 12 June 2019

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

Statistics for ignorant

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ignorant

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ignorant

ignorant

adjective

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!