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ig•no•rance(ˈɪg nər əns)
- agnosy, agnoiology - Agnosy is another word for ignorance and agnoiology is the study of human ignorance.
- ignotism - A mistake due to ignorance.
- nescience, inscience - Nescience and inscience both mean "ignorance."
- sophomoric - Includes the roots soph-, "wise," and moros, "fool"—so the contrast between wisdom and ignorance is built right into the word.
See Also: STUPIDITY
- The fault unknown is as a thought unacted —William Shakespeare
- Ignorance is a form of incompetence —Natsume Söseki
- Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone —Oscar Wilde
- Ignorance like a fire does burn —Bayard Taylor
Modernized from “Like a fire doth burn.”
- Ignorant as dirt —Karl Shapiro
- A man’s ignorance is as much his private property, and as precious in his own eyes, as his family Bible —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
- A man with little learning is like the frog who thinks its puddle a great sea —Burmese proverb
- There are a great multitude of individuals who are like blind mules, anxious enough to kick, but can’t tell where —Josh Billings
Here are the words as they appear in Billing’s phonetic dialect: “a grate multitude … but kant tell whare.”
(See also FATUOUSNESS.)
blockhead A dimwit, a numskull. The term comes from the dummy head used by wigmakers and hatters.
cork-brained Light-headed; giddy. This phrase plays with the analogy between cork cells which are dead, air-filled cells and one’s brain. Cork-brained appeared in print as early as 1630.
dunce A dull-witted, stupid person; a dolt, blockhead, or ignoramus. This term makes use of the name of a scholastic theologian of the late 13th century, John Duns Scotus. Originally the term referred to a caviling sophist, derived from the fact that Scotus’ doctrines were criticized as a conglomeration of hairsplitting distinctions. Such a person would be full of useless information and perhaps even opposed to progress and learning, as Scotus was regarded.
A dunce, void of learning but full of books. (Thomas Fuller, The Holy and Profane State, 1642)
Dunce also referred to one who is uneducated or incapable of learning.
But now in our age it is grown to be a common proverb in derision, to call such a person as is senseless or without learning a Duns, which is as much as a fool. (Raphael Holinshed, The First Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland:, 1577-87)
Today dunce has lost its connotations of overrefinement and pedantry; it means simply ‘stupid, doltish, ignorant’
dunderhead A thickheaded, stupid person; a numskull, blockhead, or dullard. The origin of this term is obscure, but it has been speculated that dunder is a corruption of the Spanish redundar ‘to overflow’ and is the name given to the lees or dregs of cane juice used in the fermentation of rum. Thus, a “dunderhead” is a head full of dregs, overflowing with this worthless substance. This term has been in use since the early 17th century.
not know A from a windmill To be extremely ignorant or stupid. This expression is said to have been originally suggested by the similarity between the shape of a capital A and that of a windmill. This theory is further reinforced by the now rare or obsolete definition of windmill found in the OED: “a figure of a windmill; a sign or character resembling this, as a cross or asterisk.” In popular usage until the late 19th century, the phrase appeared as early as 1402 in the Rolls of Parliament.
not know B from a battledore To be illiterate, ignorant, or obtuse. Battledore is an obsolete word for a hornbook used as a child’s primer. Not to know the letter from the book signified utter ignorance.
He knew not a B from a battledore nor ever a letter of the book. (John Foxe, Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perilous Days, 1553-87)
Many alliterative variations of the phrase exist, substituting broomstick, bull’s foot, or buffalo’s foot for battledore.
not know if one is coming or going See CONFUSION.
not know one’s ass [or Brit arse] from one’s elbow Not know the first thing about something, not know what’s what, completely ignorant or naïve.
I wish I’d had a crowd like that for my first crew. We none of us knew arse from elbow when they pushed me off. (N. Shute, Pastoral, 1944)
not know shit from shinola To be totally stupid or ignorant. Shinola is the brand name of a formerly popular shoe polish little used today. Because of its vulgar origin and implications, the phrase is somewhat limited in written usage.
not know which end is up Not know what’s going on; ignorant, stupid; totally confused or mixed up.
out to lunch Stupid, daft, or flaky; socially incompetent. This expression relates physical absence to mental vacuity. The common phrase often describes a person whose social ineptness or exceedingly poor judgment is due to a severe lack of common sense.
A girl who would be attracted to Bud’s mean streak and bad temper must be a little out to lunch. (Toronto Daily Star, June, 1966)
|Noun||1.||ignorance - the lack of knowledge or education|
cognitive content, mental object, content - the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
inexperience, rawness - lack of experience and the knowledge and understanding derived from experience; "procedural inexperience created difficulties"; "their poor behavior was due to the rawness of the troops"
unenlightenment - a lack of understanding
illiteracy - ignorance resulting from not reading
lack of education understanding, knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, insight, enlightenment, comprehension
"No more; where ignorance is bliss,"
"'Tis folly to be wise" [Thomas Gray Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College]
"If ignorance is indeed bliss, it is a very low grade of the article" [Tehyi Hsieh Chinese Epigrams Inside Out and Proverbs]
"Ignorance is not bliss - it is oblivion" [Philip Wylie Generation of Vipers]
"Ignorance, the stem and root of all evil" [Plato]
"What we call evil is simply ignorance bumping its head in the dark" [Henry Ford]
"Ignorance is not innocence but sin" [Robert Browning The Inn Album]
"Ignorance itself is without a doubt a sin for those who do not wish to understand; for those who, however, cannot understand, it is the punishment of sin" [St Augustine]
"Ignorance is the curse of God,"
"Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven" [William Shakespeare Henry VI]
"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance" [Socrates]
"If you think education is expensive - try ignorance" [Derek Bok]
"One half of the world does not know how the other half lives"