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A piece of irony

I find myself lately having to resist the compulsion to correct those around me when I hear the term ignorant used in the wrong, ever-persisting way. Example:

“What a loser: he just tripped himself playing soccer!”

“Uggh, jerk, don’t make fun of him! You’re ignorant.”

(sometimes pronounced “ignert” in my local area)

Anyone else happen to run into this problem as frequently as I do?

  • May 5, 2010
  • Posted by devind
  • Filed in Usage

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One of the entries in the OED for "ignorant" is "5. dial. and colloq. Ill-mannered, uncouth."

goofy May 8, 2010, 7:43am

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I get this often as well. While many seem to be correcting you for this, I personally find it to be incorrect to say ignorant in that way; you are not unaware of anything. If ignorant can mean uncouth, then you are the wrong one, but, for the most part, I think that you are, in fact, correct.

itpaciga May 24, 2010, 10:35pm

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They might believe that. Or they might think you a noodge.

Seriously, there are few situations, other than parent-child or student-teacher or editor-writer, where correcting another persons grammar is welcomed. (Not that it's especially welcomed in these.) If you have understood the speaker then the grammatical gaffe has not been deleterious. If the speaker's grammar is so bad as to hinder comprehension, the polite action would be to ask for clarification, not to torch his car. (I speak metaphorically, of course. You brought up the "radical" thing.)

The purpose of language is communication. Interruptive nit-pickery hampers that.

douglas.bryant June 29, 2010, 9:04pm

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Sometimes i feel like i'm the only one that notices this. "Ignernt" is not a synonym for rude. People need to learn that.

toastman56 June 28, 2010, 8:38pm

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Merriam-Webster Online defines 'ignorant' as: "lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified." Which sounds pretty close to the usage of the word in your soccer example. The word may be being over-used; this happens. But it's just slang.

I think 'ignorant' is a vogue word, to use Garner's appellation. It, like 'random' and 'radical,' will pass. It is not "ever-persisting." Resist the "compulsion to correct." People will think you random.

douglas.bryant June 29, 2010, 6:56am

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Really? I would think it more likely that they would believe me to be a "radical" grammar enthusiast.

toastman56 June 29, 2010, 4:38pm

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Joke's on you. "Ignert" is a colloquial form, frequently pronounced that way to invoke the dialect, as goofy pointed out.

i.e. In an "ironic" twist, if you point out someone using/pronouncing "ignorant" wrong, you'll end up looking "ignert."

scyllacat May 20, 2010, 3:17am

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That's ignorant.

Michael May 20, 2010, 4:39am

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"No. That's ignorant... you're ignorant." - South Park's Michael Jackson.

isabella May 21, 2010, 7:58pm

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no you suck

wyattman854 May 6, 2010, 3:56pm

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Yes     No