A better word for ignorance

Ignorance can be defined in several ways. The ones I most commonly see are:

  1. Where one lacks knowledge.
  2. Where one is unaware of something
  3. Where one chooses to subjectively ignore information

I’m looking for a word that encompasses the 3rd definition and precludes the other 2.

Where someone is being ignorant, not someone who is ignorant.


No. Someone who is obtuse is manipulating linguistic ambiguity. If anything they are less ignorant (in the 1st 2 definition sense) because they know of the double meaning. Or are being deliberately pedantic.

I think in common usage, ‘ignorant’ tends to be perceived as meaning 3 more than the other two - but maybe what you’re looking for is not a single word. How about wilful ignorance?

Wilful ignorance is good.

For a one word answer, maybe fanatic?

Wilful ignorance.

Culpable ignorance.

Elective ignorance.

Selective myopia / selective deafness.

Turning a blind mind.

Exhibiting confirmation bias.


To me, The first two are ignorance.

The third doesn’t belong there, it belongs under the word “stupid”.

It has always been explained to me that being ignorant is forgivable, you can learn and correct.

Stupid however is the act of remaining convinced you are right even when given proof, or at least a majority answer to the contrary.

Ignorance can be fixed, stupid is forever.


On occasion, Obduracy.

You can’t get a better definition for #3 than “in denial.”

“Cherry picking” also implies something similar, as the person is choosing which bits of information to emphasize and which to ignore (or at least downplay).

Elective ignorance need not be stupidity, it can be quite the reverse, as it can also be called functional deniability.

Another vote for willful ignorance - it carries that connotation that the person lacking the relevant knowledge made the choice to avoid acquiring that knowledge.

How about “judgement prior to investigation?” That has a nice scientific ring to it.