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[ig-nuh-rey-muh s, -ram-uh s] /ˌɪg nəˈreɪ məs, -ˈræm əs/
noun, plural ignoramuses.
an extremely ignorant person.
Origin of ignoramus
1570-80; < Latin ignōrāmus we ignore (1st person plural present indicative of ignōrāre to be ignorant of, ignore); hence name of an ignorant lawyer in the play Ignoramus (1615) by the English playwright G. Ruggle, whence current sense
simpleton, fool, dunce, know-nothing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ignoramus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He is no ignoramus, either, for he must be able to read and write and understand geography to get any good out of that memorandum.

    The Ghost Breaker Charles Goddard
  • Judging by her looks, she must have thought me an ignoramus.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World The Son of Samuel Smiles
  • The skilful writer expects reasonable accuracy, the ignoramus wants printers to be Macaulays and mind-readers as well.

    The Magazine Style-Code Leigh H. Irvine
  • No, I am the public, and this ignoramus—this Cerberus—won't let me in!

    The Live Corpse Leo Tolstoy
  • I would rather remain an ignoramus than develop a pretty wit for another's dole.

    Mauprat George Sand
  • She realized that Helen was by no means the ignoramus Belle and Hortense said.

    The Girl from Sunset Ranch Amy Bell Marlowe
  • But the jury returned the bill with ignoramus on it, and so found no indictment.

  • But I am only an ignoramus, and certainly failed to understand everything in it.

British Dictionary definitions for ignoramus


noun (pl) -muses
an ignorant person; fool
Word Origin
C16: from legal Latin, literally: we have no knowledge of, from Latin ignōrāre to be ignorant of; see ignore; modern usage originated from the use of Ignoramus as the name of an unlettered lawyer in a play by G. Ruggle, 17th-century English dramatist
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ignoramus

1570s, from an Anglo-French legal term (early 15c.), from Latin ignoramus "we do not know," first person present indicative of ignorare "not to know" (see ignorant). The legal term was one a grand jury could write on a bill when it considered the prosecution's evidence insufficient. Sense of "ignorant person" came from the title role of George Ruggle's 1615 play satirizing the ignorance of common lawyers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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