I need a single word that means "lack of perspective."

For example:

  • A child, punished by not getting to watch a rerun of his favorite show, tries to make a federal case out of the issue, writing a multipage essay about it. The child is what?

  • Someone of no account or notoriety is wrong on the Internet. Our subject, who doesn't know them spends all day arguing with them in a private chat. That subject is what?

  • Three blind monks are introduced to an elephant. One, touching the ear, says it's flat. The other, touching the trunk, says it's long and round like a firehose. The last, touching the leg, say's it's like a tree. Our monks are what?

The fundamental problem in all of these cases is that they lack perspective. They have performed a limited analysis. The first two performed a limited analysis of costs and benefits. The last could only speak to their limited knowledge.

You could say the first two were being ridiculous, short-sighted. Perhaps they are "immature" - but that is too vague and poorly defined.

An idiom might be that they can't see the forest for the trees.

You could say the last were ignorant or blind.

What is a single word that describes both?

I think I am looking for a direct antonym to "perspicacious." I suppose I'll offer some ideas in an answer.

  • 1) The child is a writer. 2) The subject is trolled. 3) Our monks are blind. – Drew Nov 19 '17 at 4:02

In all three cases, the people are, in the sense of the word that doesn't imply anger, argumentative:

1 : given to argument : tending to argue : having or showing a tendency to disagree or argue with other people in an angry way : DISPUTATIOUS · He became argumentative when confronted with the allegation. · an argumentative temperament

2 : consisting of or characterized by argument · argumentative discourse · aired their opinions in an argumentative way

That matches your examples, but not your further qualification of a lack of perspective. A phrase for that might be having tunnel vision:

2 : extreme narrowness of viewpoint : narrow-mindedness; also : single-minded concentration on one objective

(Or, as in the definition provided, being narrow-minded.)


I can't think of a single word, but I would consider a person who comes to a conclusion before completely analyzing a situation to be cognitively biased (or simply biased, but that doesn't feel right in your context).


Actions that stem from cognitive bias could be attributed to the Dunning-Kruger effect.


Neither of these phrases would likely sing in your writing, but perhaps they could help inform your search.


We are looking for a direct antonym to "perspicacious" which by its Latin root (perspicax) indicates the character of "perspective". Its literal definition is (Merriam Webster):

of acute mental vision or discernment

obtuse seems somewhat apt. "Obtuse" denotes a very wide angle and implies slowness in understanding of the big picture without necessarily a lack of intelligence (i.e. stupidity). Some have been accused of being "intentionally obtuse" as I recall.

unperceptive would imply an unintentional lack of perspective, but it does not denote it.

Similarly, these synonyms: imperceptive, undiscerning, unknowledgeable, uninformed, unaware, and senseless would apply to the at least partial blindness of all of my examples.

Perhaps we should coin a new word?

unperspicacious: adjective describing one who lacks perspective or "acute mental vision or discernment"

In fact, it does appear to be in use.


Ill-judging is not a bad idea. But I don't know that we can find a single word precisely describing all these cases. The child's overdramatic behavior is disproportionate but can be explained by immaturity, the fact that children are egocentric. That of the person on the Internet is an overestimation or misjudgment of the importance of the people or the topic. The person is clueless or incognizant; he doesn't know that he doesn't know. The three blind men are partial in their judgment, but it's not due to egocentrism as with the child; it's more that they are making their judgments based on incomplete information, though they are unaware of that. These people are not truly in error; each of them grasps a part of the truth. The third example is an error in observation, but in the first two examples there seems to be an emotional component, a sense of being overidentified, which creates a certain vehemence. I think this question is hard to answer because you don't give an example of how exactly you would want to use such a word in a practical context.

protected by tchrist Dec 2 '17 at 1:44

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