Definition of ignorance in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɪɡn(ə)r(ə)ns/


[mass noun]
Lack of knowledge or information: he acted in ignorance of basic procedures
More example sentences
  • Our fear is based on ignorance, they loftily believe, and can be safely dismissed.
  • There are vast tracts of ignorance in my knowledge and really there are lots of other people who know more than me.
  • The legacy of Lindh is the confusion and ignorance that afflicts today's referendum.
incomprehension, unawareness, unconsciousness, inexperience, innocence;
unfamiliarity with, lack of enlightenment about, lack of knowledge about, lack of information about
informal cluelessness
literary nescience
lack of knowledge, lack of education;
unenlightenment, benightedness;
lack of intelligence, unintelligence, stupidity, foolishness, idiocy, denseness, brainlessness, mindlessness, slow-wittedness
informal thickness, dimness, dumbness, dopiness, doziness


ignorance is bliss

proverb If one is unaware of an unpleasant fact or situation one cannot be troubled by it: I don’t want to hear about them: ignorance is bliss in this case
More example sentences
  • Where pop music is concerned, ignorance is bliss.
  • Ignorance is bliss and Reece slept well and happy that night.
  • Ignorance is bliss to the general public when it comes to such sensitive and important institutions as the economy.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin ignorantia, from ignorant- 'not knowing' (see ignorant).

  • Ignorance is from Latin ignorare ‘not to know’, the source of ignore (Late Middle English), and ignoramus (late 16th century). The poet Thomas Gray first expressed the thought that ignorance is bliss in 1742: ‘Thought would destroy their paradise. / No more; where ignorance is bliss, / 'Tis folly to be wise.’ In 1615 King James I attended a production of a farcical play by George Ruggle, a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Its title was Ignoramus, the name of a character in the play, and it satirized lawyers and their ignorance. The use of ignoramus for ‘an ignorant person’ appeared almost immediately afterwards. In Latin ignoramus means ‘we do not know’, which in legal Latin became ‘we take no notice (of it)’. The original use of ignoramus in English was as the judgement that grand juries formerly made on indictments brought before them that they considered to be backed by too little evidence: they would ‘find an ignoramus’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ig¦nor|ance

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.