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 '15 at 17:10
  • Isn't he committing a "faux pas" by nonchalantly answering those questions? – Misti Jul 13 '15 at 18:14
  • I think blind would do, regarding your example. – RexYuan Jul 13 '15 at 19:23
  • I think "clueless" fits pretty well. – Hot Licks Jul 13 '15 at 19:23
  • A two-word match might be "blissfully ignorant." – Sven Yargs Jul 13 '15 at 23:45

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 '15 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 '15 at 5:32
  • I didn't expect that the term would be so difficult. This sounds like medical terminology. :) – user109460 Jul 14 '15 at 8:43
  • 1
    This is not a term. It's psycho-babble. – Lambie May 2 '18 at 20:38
  • that's an excellent example of the effect in question. well done! – simbo1905 May 2 '18 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 '15 at 17:23
  • @Amande Simbo1905 spots the wod i am looking for :) – Jaeger Jay Jul 14 '15 at 5:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.