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

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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 Hearing ignorant comments in my classrooms, among my peers, in the press and the community at large puts Arab Americans perpetually in the crosshairs of those attempting to further erase and harm us. Doris Bittar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Commentary: Arab Americans must be included in California’s new ethnic studies curriculum," 18 Nov. 2020 The report substantiated some of Vigano's main claims but disproved many others and portrayed Francis as being largely ignorant of McCarrick's past but also also entirely uninterested in learning details when officials raised it with him. Nicole Winfield And Monika Scislowska, Star Tribune, "Polish bishops defend John Paul II after McCarrick report," 13 Nov. 2020 Progressive education activists are ignorant of, or more likely have willfully misread, our foundational documents, quoting selectively and in bad faith from the Founders where religious liberty is concerned. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Classroom Busybodies Ban a ‘Jesus Loves Me’ Mask," 13 Nov. 2020 Biden supporters assumed that the Trump-loving Latinos were ignorant of the truth. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Latinos for Trump rile up and baffle Biden supporters in must-win Florida," 28 Oct. 2020 Mary's right-hand man Badim often implores her that the Ministry should have a special-ops wing, but since Mary decides to remain ignorant of the Ministry's involvement in such violence, the readers does as well. Christian Holub, EW.com, "How new novel The Ministry for the Future lays a blueprint for fighting climate change," 14 Oct. 2020 Anyone can be cruel, prejudiced, ignorant, or overly glib in a newspaper quote. Jennifer Brooks, Star Tribune, "Flap over Minneapolis deputy chief's 'white boys' comment missed point," 28 Oct. 2020 When Trump instituted travel restrictions from China on January 31, there was an uproar from opponents that this was an ignorant, and even bigoted, policy move. Kirti Shanker, National Review, "Reimagining America’s Infectious-Disease Defense," 26 Oct. 2020 Over the next few days, nationalists hounded Mr. Xiong on Weibo, calling him ignorant and thankless. Chao Deng And Liza Lin, WSJ, "In Xi Jinping’s China, Nationalism Takes a Dark Turn," 22 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for ignorant

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ignorant

Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ignorant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignorant. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for ignorant


How to pronounce ignorant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ignorant

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


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

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Comments on ignorant

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