C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


O thou monster ignorance!


The more one endeavors to sound the depths of his ignorance the deeper the chasm appears.

A. Bronson Alcott.

Ignorance is the mother of fear.

Lord Kames.

The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance.


Ignorance never settles a question.


They most assume, who know the least.


The law succors the ignorant.

Law Maxim.

Ignorance is the dominion of absurdity.


Ignorance is bold, and knowledge reserved.


Whoever is ignorant is vulgar.


There is no calamity like ignorance.


Positive in proportion to their ignorance.

Hosea Ballou.

Dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance.


What ignorance there is in human minds.


The ignorant classes are the dangerous classes. Ignorance is the womb of monsters.

Henry Ward Beecher.

Detraction is the sworn friend to ignorance.

John Webster.

There is no darkness but ignorance.


Ignorance is the wet-nurse of prejudice.

H. W. Shaw.

Nothing is more terrible than active ignorance.


Mr. Kremlin was distinguished for ignorance; for he had only one idea, and that was wrong.


To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of the ignorant.

A. Bronson Alcott.

Ignorance is a dangerous and spiritual poison, which all men ought warily to shun.


  • Where ignorance is bliss
  • ’Tis folly to be wise.
  • Gray.

    How wretched are the minds of men, and how blind their understandings.


  • From ignorance our comfort flows,
  • The only wretched are the wise.
  • Prior.

    It is better to be unborn than untaught; for ignorance is the root of misfortune.


    Ignorance is a prolonged infancy only deprived of its charm.

    De Boufflers.

    There is nothing more daring than ignorance.


    Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon or star.


    Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge, the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.


    Ignorant men differ from beasts only in their figure.


    In friendship, as in love, we are often happier through our ignorance than our knowledge.


    The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance.

    Samuel Butler.

    Well-meant ignorance is a grievous calamity in high places.


    Scholars are frequently to be met with who are ignorant of nothing—saving their own ignorance.


    A wise man in the company of those who are ignorant has been compared by the sages to a beautiful girl in the company of blind men.


    Ignorance is not so damnable as humbug; but when it prescribes pills it may happen to do more harm.

    George Eliot.

    A man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty.


    A man is never astonished or ashamed that he don’t know what another does, but he is surprised at the gross ignorance of the other in not knowing what he does.


    Man is arrogant in proportion to his ignorance. Man’s natural tendency is to egotism. Man, in his infancy of knowledge, thinks that all creation was formed for him.


    Ignorance, when voluntary, is criminal, and a man may be properly charged with that evil which he neglected or refused to learn how to prevent.


    Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up all the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge. He who dethrones the idea of law bids chaos welcome in its stead.

    Horace Mann.

    Did we but compare the miserable scantiness of our capacities with the vast profundity of things, truth and modesty would teach us wary language.


    So long as thou art ignorant, be not ashamed to learn. Ignorance is the greatest of all infirmities; and when justified, the chiefest of all follies.

    Izaak Walton.

    Ignorance is mere privation by which nothing can be produced: it is a vacuity in which the soul sits motionless and torpid for want of attraction; and, without knowing why, we always rejoice when we learn, and grieve when we forget.


    It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance, for it requires knowledge to perceive it; and, therefore, he that can perceive it hath it not.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles—the less they have in them the more noise they make in pouring it out.


    It is thus that we walk through the world like the blind, not knowing whither we are going, regarding as bad what is good, regarding as good what is bad, and ever in entire ignorance.

    Madame de Sévigné.

    It is with nations as with individuals, those who know the least of others think the highest of themselves; for the whole family of pride and ignorance are incestuous, and mutually beget each other.


    Do not take the yardstick of your ignorance to measure what the ancients knew, and call everything which you do not know lies. Do not call things untrue because they are marvelous, but give them a fair consideration.

    Wendell Phillips.

    There is no slight danger from general ignorance; and the only choice which Providence has graciously left to a vicious government, is either to fall by the people, if they are suffered to become enlightened, or with them, if they are kept enslaved and ignorant.


    Without knowledge there can be no sure progress. Vice and barbarism are the inseparable companions of ignorance. Nor is it too much to say that, except in rare instances, the highest virtue is attained only through intelligence.

    Charles Sumner.

    Ignorance lies at the bottom of all human knowledge, and the deeper we penetrate the nearer we arrive unto it. For what do we truly know, or what can we clearly affirm, of any one of those important things upon which all our reasonings must of necessity be built—time and space, life and death, matter and mind?


    There are two sorts of ignorance: we philosophize to escape ignorance; we start from the one, we repose in the other; they are the goals from which and to which we tend; and the pursuit of knowledge is but a course between two ignorances, as human life is only a traveling from grave to grave.

    Sir William Hamilton.

    Thy ignorance in unrevealed mysteries is the mother of a saving faith, and thy understanding in revealed truths is the mother of a sacred knowledge; understand not therefore that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand; understanding is the wages of a lively faith, and faith is the reward of an humble ignorance.