What do you call a person who always or gradually makes mistakes, but is unaware that they're making those mistakes? For example,

Nicolo and I are partners in a group project. The instructor asks a question about the project and Nicolo, nonchalantly, answers, not knowing he's leading our project's performance into failure. He's very confident he's doing the right thing, but he really isn't.

Is there any word that can describe this situation?

  • 5
    Do you mean 'oblivious'?
    – Mitch
    Jul 13, 2015 at 17:10
  • Isn't he committing a "faux pas" by nonchalantly answering those questions?
    – Misti
    Jul 13, 2015 at 18:14
  • I think blind would do, regarding your example.
    – RexYuan
    Jul 13, 2015 at 19:23
  • I think "clueless" fits pretty well.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 13, 2015 at 19:23
  • A two-word match might be "blissfully ignorant."
    – Sven Yargs
    Jul 13, 2015 at 23:45

3 Answers 3


The person is suffering from 'Kruger-Dunning effect' which is a psychological phenomenon that someone who is incompetent overestimate their own capabilities.

  • Agree, it's exactly that. See also Mt. Stupid
    – stevesliva
    Jul 14, 2015 at 0:07
  • Thanks. That's the word I am looking for. It occurs to me that it is an example of cognitive bias.
    – Jaeger Jay
    Jul 14, 2015 at 5:32
  • I didn't expect that the term would be so difficult. This sounds like medical terminology. :)
    – user109460
    Jul 14, 2015 at 8:43
  • 1
    This is not a term. It's psycho-babble.
    – Lambie
    May 2, 2018 at 20:38
  • that's an excellent example of the effect in question. well done!
    – simbo1905
    May 2, 2018 at 22:40

"Clueless," as indicated above, would probably be my choice:

  1. completely or hopelessly...unaware, ignorant, or foolish


If Nicolo's destruction of your project is accompanied by a complete lack of concern or a carefree attitude, or if confusion, not ignorance, is the root cause of his failure, I might say that he's a ditz, although that's more often applied to women than men.

Ditzy: flighty and easily confused


(There's nothing about it in the definitions, but I've always thought part of ditziness was a complete unawareness of one's own obliviousness.)

Naif (or naïf) might be a more gender-neutral term, but it's not the most current or recognized word in English.

a naive or inexperienced person



I would use one of the following words to describe this person:


(of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.


lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.


not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.

*all definitions come from the Google search engine. ("Define xxxx")

  • 1
    That's not the word i am looking for.
    – Jaeger Jay
    Jul 13, 2015 at 17:23
  • @Amande Simbo1905 spots the wod i am looking for :)
    – Jaeger Jay
    Jul 14, 2015 at 5:32

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