Is there a single-word adjective to describe an office functionary who consistently incorrectly refers paperwork onwards to the wrong internal department in his or her organisation because he or she doesn't realise he or she is wrong?

closed as off-topic by MetaEd Nov 17 '16 at 22:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – MetaEd
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Hi, I'm sorry to be picky but this is a single-word-request, so not only does it require the tag, but an exemplary sentence (see the tag details) where you might use it, or it may be closed. We also have a research requirement. I suggest mentioning why bureaucratic and its closest synonyms in a thesaurus don't work. You can read more about our bureaucratic policies in the help center, esp. the parts regarding what you may or may not ask us. – Tonepoet Oct 2 '16 at 4:00
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    This question seems under-constrained. In an office environment, surely someone would tell the person that they sent things to the wrong place. Why are they still ignorant of this? The reason will likely narrow the choice of adjective. Please edit to constrain the question further. I'll vote to place this question on hold for being too broad. Please feel free to contact me about reversing my vote after you have edited. (Just post a comment containing "@Lawrence".) – Lawrence Oct 2 '16 at 14:14
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    I would say "incompetent" or "careless". – Hot Licks Oct 2 '16 at 14:33
  • Like most new SE users? We're always getting questions that should have been referred to someone else. – BladorthinTheGrey Oct 4 '16 at 6:28
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    Please do not create the example sentence if you are not the person who needs the word. – MetaEd Nov 17 '16 at 22:57

It would seem that such an "office functionary*" is either untrained, or, if they have been trained and maybe even retrained, incompetent.


This would be (wilfully) ignorant.

1 Lacking knowledge or awareness; uneducated or unsophisticated.
‘In that way, our people can remain ignorant, uneducated and dumb.’



Edit (added definition of willfully ignorant from Wiktionary):

willful ignorance ‎(uncountable)

(idiomatic, law) A decision in bad faith to avoid becoming informed about something so as to avoid having to make undesirable decisions that such information might prompt.

  • +1 for wilfully. Added a definition of willful ignorance on your behalf. – alwayslearning Oct 2 '16 at 14:07

You’ve been given several functional words.  Here are a few more colorful ones:


    a mindless or stupid person


    having the characteristics of a scatterbrain


        a person who is unable to concentrate or think clearly


    not having knowledge about something : unable to understand something


    unable to understand or think clearly

Bemused, bewildered, disoriented and flustered are the past participles of bemuse, bewilder, disorient and fluster, respectively; they are all approximately synonyms for confuse (so the -ed words are all approximately synonyms for confused).  Definitions are all from Merriam-Webster.

  • In the British context waste of space and plonker (mainly for a man) could be added to your list. In both British and American contexts air-head can be used (particularly for a woman). – BoldBen Oct 4 '16 at 9:27

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