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Ultracrepidarian

Definition: Someone who gives advice or opinions on topics outside of their personal knowledge.

Pronunciation: ultra-krep-id-dare-REE-ann

Origin:

Directly from Latin.

First recorded use was by philosopher Pliny the Elder, who altered the Latin phrase “Sutor, ne ultra crepidam” (“A shoemaker ought not to judge beyond his own soles”) into “Ne ultra crepidam judicaret” (“Critics should only judge things they know something about.”)

Why this word?

Some could say that it’s human nature to pass judgment (even the most innocent kind) on things said individual human does not personally know very much about, and then simply for the sheer pleasure of opening their mouth to make sounds.

But whether it’s indicative of the human condition or not, sticking one’s nose into a place where it does not fit nor necessarily belong is, in my opinion, one of the most hideous and detestable behaviors someone could exhibit. Though, being polite and non-threatening in offering unwelcome “advice” can sort of soften the blow, I don’t believe that just because someone “was nice” in criticizing your business means that that person should be excused for butting into your privacy.

I come from the Deep South of the United States. Double-speak and the mentality of “Oh, I was just trying to help you, honey” is woven into the large prevailing Southern culture as thickly as is our indicative drawling accents. It’s oftentimes a learned behavior of Southern women, specifically, to never be completely honest (if at all) to each other for fear of being thought of as “impolite”. Little Southern girls are taught to fake smile, simper and wheedle, and dance around their own thoughts, fears, and desires so that they will always seem polite and mannerly.

This heirloom skillset leaves room for the loophole of “If I’m Nice about it, I can say whatever I want, and if they get angry at me, it’s their fault– because they’re the one being impolite.”

Which, obviously, is a load of bunk.

I mean, isn’t it common sense to not open your mouth unless you know, 100%, that the subject you want to comment on is something you’ve taken the time to actually learn about, instead of parroting vapid stereotypes for the sake of speaking?

There shouldn’t be a social stigma on being ignorant– There’s no such thing as ignorance equating to stupidity. Ignorance literally means “without knowledge, can be taught”. Stupidity cannot be taught, because stupid is as stupid does. And so, belligerent ignorance is someone who lacks knowledge, has the ability to be taught about said missing knowledge, but refuses to, due to pride or personality defect (most of the time) and still speaks about the things they do not know about or understand.

Society takes it a step further and actually shelters these know-nothings– but, only if they were polite in their unwelcome deliveries.

How do you use the word Ultracrepidarian in a sentence?

Example: “Ultracrepidarians are belligerently ignorant and they must be stopped.”

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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.

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