Difference Between Ignorance and Stupidity (With Table)

One of the most entertaining language usages is to communicate to other people with the exact degree of their intellectual failings. In the 16th century, a high bar for creative insults was set by William Shakespeare. Since then exciting and new ways to express disdain continued to find by English users.  

Still, the perennial effectiveness in the old stand boys can be seen. Ignorance and stupidity have stood the test of time but do not exactly mean the same thing. To clear up the confusion between both these words this article focuses on differentiating ignorance and stupidity. 

Ignorance vs Stupidity 

The main difference between ignorance and stupidity is their causes. The causes of ignorance in a person are mainly due to her or his life’s circumstances. On the other hand, stupidity is either due to mental deficiency or because of an attitude problem that prevents from learning the peer group and environment. 

Ignorance is generally an absence of information and knowledge. The word ignorant comes under the category of an adjective that highlights a person in a cognitive dissonance state or simply unaware and other cognitive relation. The three different kinds in which ignorance appears are factual, technical, and abject ignorance.

Stupidity is generally a lack of wit, intelligence, reason, or understanding. It might be reactive, innate, or assumed. In fictional characters, stupid characters are used for comedy. Stupidity is evil as Walter B. Pitkin, but in a more romantic spirit, Carl Jung and William Blake believed stupidity can be the wise mother. 

Comparison Table Between Ignorance and Stupidity 

Parameters of Comparison Ignorance Stupidity 
Awareness No Yes 
Different perspectiveNo, as it means the same to everyoneYes according to various people means different
Medium Knowledge as it helps to change ignoranceNone as stupidity is the inefficiency of brainpower
Synonyms Unfamiliarity, illiteracy, inexperience, and innocence Dumbness, denseness, foolishness, and mindlessness 
Antonyms Knowledge, education, awareness, and learning Brilliance, braininess, intelligence, and cleverness 

What is Ignorance? 

Ignorance is simply the antonym of knowledge. If knowledge is considered as light then ignorance is darkness. Ignorance is a state that easily transformed into being a knowledgeable state. That’s why if a person acts in ignorance then he is forgivable.  

The reason is not he has failed to act willfully, but because he lacked knowledge. In the case of a toddler who tries to place a fork inside a switch, a person might not slap him hard as the child is ignorant plainly and has no knowledge related to the risk is taken.  

It is only when children are made aware of the dangers of misuse of water, electricity, fire, and gas that they become knowledgeable and are ignorant no longer. Another example is there are inherent ignorance dangers at the workplace where employees work with hazardous gases and chemicals or heavy machines.  

That’s the reason only knowledgeable and trained workers are permitted to work where accidents can lead due to ignorance. Making mistakes are wonderful as they teach but ignorance simply lands in the trouble. When it comes to a real-life situation, it is preferred to gain experience and knowledge to avoid such things. 

What is Stupidity? 

If someone is unable to understand he is mentioned to be stupid. A state of being extremely senseless and dull is called stupid. The occurrence of stupidity is in the presence of knowledge and if a person is not ignorant then only he can be stupid.   

If you already know the person is ignorant, then there is no need to call them stupid. If a person has knowledge but does not apply it or simply forget in a specific situation then the person is being stupid. 

In frequency, stupidity is reduced as a person is simply exposed to a specific situation again and again. When it comes to students, the students are expected to make mistakes, and as a result, they do not classify as stupid’s.  

On the other hand, their teachers usually have all the knowledge and there is no expectation from teachers to make mistakes. In 1541, the word stupidity entered the language of English. Since, then this word has taken place along with moron, fool, dumb, and idiot. 

Main Differences Ignorance and Stupidity 

  1. When it comes to forgiveness, the person with ignorance is forgivable due to awarness lacking. On the flip side, the person with stupidity is not forgivable due to inefficiency of brainpower.
  2. Ignorance simply implies lack of knowledge on a certain aspect. In contrast, stupidity denotes the person’s inability to understand mainly due to insufficient intelligence and leads to fact’s misinterpretation.  
  3. With the help of knowledge, acquisition ignorance can be simply removed. On the other hand, stupidity in a person is intrinsically and that’s why difficult to remove.   
  4. In terms of examples, “excuse my ignorance, how does it actually work?” is the example of ignorance. On contrary, the example of stupidity is “due to his stupidity, he lost his job.”  
  5. When it comes to causes, ignorance in a person is mainly due to her or his life’s circumstances. Meanwhile, stupidity is either due to mental deficiency or because of an attitude problem that prevents from learning the peer group and environment. 


It can be concluded that both ignorance and stupidity words are quite confusing but are not the same thing. The medium included in ignorance is knowledge. In contrast, there is no medium included in stupidity. There is no awareness included in ignorance, while in stupidity awareness is included. The instance of ignorance is “the racist attitudes of Damon were born out of ignorance”. Meanwhile, “Sherlock was completely shocked by the stupidity of Lauren” is an example of stupidity.  

The antonyms of ignorance are knowledge, education, awareness, and learning. On the flip side, cleverness, brilliance, intelligence, and braininess are the antonyms of stupidity. It is easier to reform ignorance, but there is no way to reform stupidity. The synonyms of ignorance are unfamiliarity, innocence, inexperience, and illiteracy. On the other hand, dumbness, mindlessness, denseness, and foolishness are synonyms of stupidity. 


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02796015.1979.12086493
  2. https://www.nomos-elibrary.de/10.5771/0943-7444-2009-1-17.pdf

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