I need a word for someone who knows something but doesn't use it.

For example, a person who does not know how to fish could be called ignorant, but what about a person who has been taught to fish but won't do it?

Not looking for something like "lazy", that would be unwilling.

"Dumb" comes to mind but according to the dictionary dumb is temporarily unable or unwilling to speak.

I think I am looking for something like this

Not knowing is to ignorant as _____ is to knowing but not doing.

The why they will not do something is a another question all together.

I have been talking with my son about him wanting to drop out of school

I am really against this and as much as I can help it I will

I have asked him to do some research as to how well the average high school drop out lives.

Using some statistics the data is very clear that having the high school degree is much better than not having it.

Therefore before you could say was ignorant as he did not know the importance of the high school degree, however he is still trying to pursue dropping out.

Not the opposite of ignorant, ignorant does not match the term because now he knows, therefore not ignorant.

  • 1
    Words can have multiple meanings. "Dumb" can mean silent but also "stupid": dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/dumb
    – dubious
    Jul 27 at 15:02
  • 2
    But why won't he do it? That's important.
    – fev
    Jul 27 at 15:09
  • 1
    Title and question don't match.
    – Dan
    Jul 27 at 15:18
  • Many people don't know how to fish (they don't live near the coast and don't choose to fish for pleasure), but that doesn't make them ignorant. Jul 27 at 15:26
  • 1
    Can you update the question to add some reasons why they choose not to do it. Are they just stubborn?
    – Jim
    Jul 27 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


My guess is that the person in question is simply uninterested.

uninterested: not wanting to learn more about something or become involved in something (Britannica)

  • This certainly fits the scenario described, even if it doesn't seem to match the title (the OP's title doesn't particularly match the question).
    – Stuart F
    Jul 28 at 10:07

I guess it would depend on why they refuse to do it. Is it because they hate it? Do they get bored? It brings back bad memories? They just don't like to do it anymore?

I mean, there are a lot of reasons why someone decides not to do something. I think the "term" would depend on such reasons.

Are they stubborn? Triggered? Unmotivated? Childish? Have they grown out of something (like fishing)?


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