I am looking for a word which describes a blatantly ignorant person (not knowing much about certain topic) who in a debate accuses of ignorance his opponent, who knows more about the topic of discussion. The person accusing does so out of his ignorance and prepotency, sometimes to hide his lack of knowledge or believing he is well informed and not understanding at all the arguments of the "well informed" opponent.

Is there a word for this?

I thought I read it once somewhere and now I can't find it. It was supposed to be a unused or archaic word. Maybe I just imagined its existence? Bigoted, fatuous and philistine don't satisfy the definition I am looking for.

  • 2
    Your question is ill-defined. You ask for a noun but propose bigoted, fatuous and philistine as models. They are adjectives. So do you want a noun or an adjective? Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 0:40
  • @chastly from UK - I believe a noun would be preferable in this case. I also believe that the kind of people the OP has in mind are more obnoxious than self-assured.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:03
  • ...a person...who in a debate... -- Does the person doing the accusing have to be wearing red suspenders with little yellow flowers on them? Must the suspenders be brand new, and from Costco? (Sheesh. When will the single-word-requests madness end?)
    – Drew
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:40
  • Lighten up, chief.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:57
  • @chaslyfromUK I proposed the adjectives to describe or get near to the noun. Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 1:53

4 Answers 4


I think I would describe the person as a boor, from which the adjective boorish is derived.

Boor. n. a rough and bad-mannered person. mid 16th century (in the sense 'peasant'): from Low German bur or Dutch boer 'farmer'. Oxford Dictionary Online.


The first word that comes to my mind is uppity.

You must be careful when using this, however, especially if your opponent is black, lest ye be accused of racism.

The word was once used commonly as a pejorative term against slaves who disobeyed / tried to outsmart their masters, but its actual meaning has nothing to do with race and everything to do with status.

In this context, one is uppity because they are placing themselves in a higher position than one who is clearly more educated (= of higher contextual status) than they are.



Urban Dictionary

If you want something a bit more politically correct and sophisticated, try pretentious. If your intent is to insult your opponent, you may add an intensifier of your choice.


Well one term that comes to mind is "projection," meaning the "attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or suppositions to others," or the "attribution of one's own attitudes, feelings, or desires to someone or something as a naive or unconscious defense against anxiety or guilt."

In this situation, one debater would be projecting his ignorance on the other.

  • 1
    It does apply as a character trait of the kind of people the OP has in mind, but it doesn't describe them exclusively. One of their favorite lines of attack is "Oh, really? Do you know what Chateaubriand said about people like you?" Which doesn't actually mean that they've read Chateaubriand, or Plato, or Locke, or even Alexandre Dumas, Pere, for that matter.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:08
  • "Projection" is psychology jargon that describes a psychological process. I think the OP was looking for more of a descriptive (or even pejorative) term for the actual person. Also, this isn't really relevant. The ignorant person really isn't projecting anything onto their opponent.
    – Adam Hayes
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 11:48

Desperation might be appropriate here.

Merriam Webster:

2 : a state of hopelessness leading to rashness

  • 5
    Not even close.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:09
  • 3
    Never expected this answer from a person with reputation>6K. Not at all related. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 9:31

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