Many a times, we tend to meet someone who is ignorant yet arrogant; to the extent that they can go a long way blabbing about something they don't really know with so much vigour. What can you refer to such a person as?

  • 27
    Geoff Nunberg calls them assholes, and I agree. It's a pronounced and recent cultural stereotype. Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 13:46
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    American? /duck
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 20:02
  • @JohnLawler I was about to offer a dissenting opinion - that my people have been around since the dawn of time - when I made the mistake of following your link. I was distressed to find that you've yet again chosen your word well (and that NPR's SSL cert is invalid). // For those who didn't - the recent in JL's comment refers to assholes the word (surprisingly, IMO), not the people in Question.
    – hunter2
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 6:50
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    Obligatory reading: Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments - Winner of the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology 2000. Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 11:55
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    @Kevin: Yes, American. Geoff's book is about American culture, and the impetus for the phrase in this context was American GIs returning from WW II. Though these days American culture casts a depressingly long shadow worldwide. Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 15:50

10 Answers 10


Also consider:
opinionated, “Having very strong opinions” and, in the form self-opinionated, “Holding to one's own opinion obstinately, stubbornly and unreasonably”
loudmouth or blowhard, “One who talks too much or too loudly, especially in a boastful or self-important manner”
obnoxious (unpleasant, offensive, annoying, odious)
eristic, “One who makes specious arguments; one who is is disputatious”
bigoted, “having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others”
egotist, “A person who believes in his own importance or superiority”
bumptious, “Obtrusively pushy; self-assertive to a pretentious extreme”
self important, “Having, or behaving as if having, too high an opinion of one's own importance”
solipsist, “One who adheres to self-absorption and an ignorance of the views or needs of others”
smart aleck or smart ass, “One who is pretentious about their own cleverness or knowledge; a know-it-all”
wiseacre, “One who feigns knowledge or cleverness; an insolent upstart”; also “(obsolete) A learned or wise man”

Three of the above appear in Is there a word for a person who doesn't think the rules apply to him?. Also see:
What's a word for an instance in which one has an opinion about something without having tried it?
"Arrogant" vs. "conceited"
A polite substitution for "lamer"
Someone who forms their own opinion
Ignorantly dishonest
Is there a word to describe someone who tends to disagree with others only to upset them?.

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    I think 'blowhard' answers the question pretty well.
    – AShelly
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 21:05
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    I like opinionated, its quite broad and encompasses the three criteria. Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 21:56
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    +1 for Wiseacre: "One who has great wisdom, or who purports to have great wisdom" is perfect for this situation.
    – user867
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 1:38
  • I think loudmouth is good. One can probably say blind loudmouth Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 20:10
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    I would add "pompous".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 12:37

An ignoranus is somebody who manages to be both ignorant and an asshole.

Alas it is not a real word, but just a play on ignoramus. I first came across it in an email listing the winners of the "The Washington Post's Mensa invitational", a contest which invites readers to take "any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition."

Unfortunately, the contest seems to have been fictitious but the list was so good that it has now taken on a life of its own (and is really worth a read). In any case, ignoranus is gaining quite a following as can be seen by the ~66,100 google hits for the word. I believe it to be a great addition to the language and it would fit your intended use pretty well; let's promote it! I would refer to the person you describe as an arrogant ignoranus.

  • The "Mensa Invitational" sounds suspiciously like the Washington Post's Style Invitational, which is a weekly word-play contest: washingtonpost.com/style-invitational-weekly-contest-archives/… Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 22:57
  • Apologies in advance if that link sidetracks your day! Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 23:09
  • @MattKrause indeed it does. I had always thought it was a bona fide WP game until I came across the page I've linked to. I guess it is probably the best of one of the weeks of the Style Invitational, thanks.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 0:19
  • It should be noted that the plural of ignoramus is ignoramuses, not ignorami. youtube.com/watch?v=c3y0CD2CoCs
    – mowwwalker
    Commented Jul 15, 2013 at 6:37
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    @ChibuezeOpata well, yes, it is not a polite statement. Then again, what you describe is not a polite sentiment so I would consider that fair. It also has the added benefit that the person in question will probably not get it and be left with a vague impression of having been insulted without really being able to pin down how. Sweet revenge!
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 2:36

'Conceited' might be the word you are looking for. These days it tends to mean having an overly favourable opinion of oneself.

Also consider 'cocky', 'smug', 'complacent' and 'vain'.

  • Only 'complacent' has even the connotation of lack of knowledge.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 16:36

I don't know if there's an equivalent one word answer but I think the phrase "know-nothing know-it-all" is bang on.


Alas, Thesaurus.com has no synonym for John Lawler’s fine suggestion of asshole.

However, it does offer up these related possibilities:

  • aloof
  • antipathetic
  • arrogant
  • audacious
  • autocratic
  • big-talking
  • biggety
  • bigheaded
  • bossy
  • brash
  • bumptious
  • cavalier
  • cheeky
  • cocky
  • conceited
  • contemptuous
  • derisive
  • despising
  • despotic
  • dictative
  • disdainful
  • doctrinaire
  • dogmatic
  • domineering
  • egotistic
  • egotistical
  • full of hot air
  • haughty
  • high-and-mighty
  • high-handed
  • hoity-toity
  • hotdogging
  • hotshot
  • hubristic
  • immodest
  • imperious
  • insolent
  • iron-handed
  • know-it-all
  • la-dee-da
  • lofty
  • lordly
  • loudmouth
  • narcissistic
  • nervy
  • on an ego trip
  • overbearing
  • overconfident
  • overweening
  • patronizing
  • peremptory
  • phony
  • pompous
  • presumptuous
  • pretentious
  • puffed up
  • pushy
  • rude
  • scornful
  • self-important
  • smart-alecky
  • smarty pants
  • smug
  • sneering
  • snippy
  • snobbish
  • snooty
  • snotty
  • stuck up
  • supercilious
  • swaggering
  • swollen-headed
  • toplofty
  • totalitarian
  • uppity
  • vain
  • vainglorious
  • windbag

I’m sure those familiar with the Urban Dictionary can provide many less urbane synonyms for this sort of thing.

  • Long list in there! +1 for the list!
    – Wonder
    Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 15:56
  • Maybe loudmouth? Commented Jul 14, 2013 at 19:24

The best fit is probably philistine, though it has an implication of specifically being uncultured, not ignorant in all regards. fatuous is also a possibility, though good luck finding anyone who knows it any more; its connotations are more of uncaring bumbling, not aggressive ignorance.

(In various dialects of English there may be colloquialisms used to mean approximately the same thing, but they're liable to be uninterpretable to a general English speaker.)


Complacent, conceited and narcissist are your best bet, narcissist tends to be more epic/poetic though. The word originates from a Greek mythology tale of a man who, upon seeing his own reflection in a river, fell in love with his own image. He then tried to kiss his own reflection and drowned out of this "romance". The tale also tells of a flower that bloomed in the exact place the young man was standing when he drowned. That flower is nowadays called a narcissus.

You are very likely to leave one dumbfounded with the usage of those three words in any argument, dissertation or text you write.

Cheers & farewell!


How about 'Smart alec.'

Oxford Advanced Learnners Dictionay defines it:

(also AmE. smarty pants / smartt-ass, BrE. smart-arse). noun (informal, disapproving) somebody who thinks they are very clever, and likes to show people this in an annoying way.

By the way, I had tried to be an “instant omniscient” when I worked as an account executive in ad agency to show off I know everything that the client wants to know, though I did know little or nothing about their business, and had no solution to their problems. I was an ignorant knowledgeable and false specialist at that time.

  • But these two words do not connote ignorance.
    – Hans
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 4:24

I'm partial to blatherskite. World Wide Words has a nice little article, and defines it:

A blatherskite may either be noisy talker of blatant rubbish or the foolish talk or nonsense that such a person spouts.

Blatherskite doesn't directly address pride, but I think calling someone volubly ignorant implies it.


You might consider bombastic

using words that are intended to impress people but do not sound sincere or do not express things very clearly: the bombastic pronouncements of so many politicians

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