ignorant

adjective
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

One of the most important was whether or not Facebook was ignorant about the risks of sharing user data, or just didn’t care about them. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "A new trove of internal Facebook emails is a stark reminder: You are Facebook’s product," 5 Dec. 2018 But European explorers who were similarly ignorant about how diseases are spread are routinely abused for the illnesses that befell inhabitants of the New World from lack of natural immunity. James Freeman, WSJ, "Columbus, Churchill and Melania," 8 Oct. 2018 In both, Kanye is quietly insightful and brashly ignorant, as wrongheaded as his critics have said and more lucid than he's given credit for. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "Kanye West Is Giving His Most Radical Performance Yet," 1 May 2018 In those necks of the woods, people are too ignorant to vote in favor of helping their illiterate and innumerate children. James Freeman, WSJ, "Hey, Little Spenders," 9 Oct. 2018 The two practices for which Barto worked also might have missed the warning signs — or been willfully ignorant. Michael Rubinkam, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Regulators OK’d child doc charged with abuse," 31 Oct. 2018 On the bright side, everyone in this picture looks blissfully ignorant of the small army of women and individuals of color working to usurp them—and there are only five months left until November. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Trump's Meeting About The Border Crisis Is Just a Dozen Old White Men," 20 June 2018 They were confused about Messenger and Instagram, largely ignorant of research suggesting that Facebook is addictive and makes people unhappy. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Mark Zuckerberg’s Trip to the Principal’s Office," 11 Apr. 2018 Mississippi has a history of lynchings and violent suppression of black voting rights, and critics denounced her remarks as ignorant at best and racist at worst. Emily Wagster Pettus, The Seattle Times, "Trump: Mississippi senator’s ‘hanging’ remark was ‘in jest’," 20 Nov. 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

15 Jan 2019

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

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 \

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

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