ne·​science ˈne-sh(ē-)ən(t)s How to pronounce nescience (audio) ˈnē- How to pronounce nescience (audio)
: lack of knowledge or awareness : ignorance
ˈne-sh(ē-)ənt How to pronounce nescience (audio)

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Gain Some Knowledge of Nescience

Eighteenth-century British poet, essayist, and lexicographer Samuel Johnson once said, "There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable that I would not rather know it than not know it." He probably knew a thing or two about the history of the word nescience, which evolved from a combination of the Latin prefix ne-, meaning "not," and scire, a verb meaning "to know." And he may also have known that scire is an ancestor of science, a word whose original meaning in English was "knowledge."

Examples of nescience in a Sentence

the appalling nescience of today's high schoolers concerning international affairs
Recent Examples on the Web Critics pounced on his gaffes questioning evolution and asserting that vegetation caused pollution, but, as with Trump, Reagan’s backers cared little about these blunders or his nescience over public affairs. Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nescience.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin nescientia, from Latin nescient-, nesciens, present participle of nescire not to know, from ne- not + scire to know — more at no, science

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nescience was in 1612


Dictionary Entries Near nescience

Cite this Entry

“Nescience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

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