Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    Want of knowledge. See 55 Am. St. Rep. 494, note.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    The want or absence of knowledge. Ignorance of law is want of knowledge or acquaintance with the laws of the land in so far as they apply to the act. relation, duty, or matter under consideration. Ignorance of fact is want of knowledge of some fact or facte constituting or relating to the subject-matter in hand. Marshall v. Coleman, 187 III. 556, 58 N. E. 628; Haven v. Foster, 9 Pick. (Mass.) 130, 19 Am. Dec. 353. Ignorance is not a slate Of the mind in the sense in which sanity and insanity are. When the mind is ignorant of a fact, its condition still remains sound ; the power of thinking, of judging, of willing, is just as complete bsfore communication of the fact as after; the essence or texture, so to speak, of the mind, is not, as in the case of insanity, affected or impaired. Ignorance of a particular fact consists in this: that the mind, although sound and capable of healthy action, has never acted upon the fact in question, because the subject has never been brought to the notice of the perceptive faculties. Meeker v. Boylan, 28 N. J. Law, 274. Synonyms. "Ignorance" and "error" or "mistake" are not convertible terms. The former is a lack of information or absence of knowledge; the latter, a misapprehension or confusion of information, or a mistaken supposition of the possession of knowledge. Error as to a fact may imply ignorance of the truth; but ignorance does not necessarily imply error. Hutton v, Edgerton, 6 Rich. (S. Ct) 489; Culbreath v. Culbreath, 7 Ga. 70, 50 Am. Dec. 375. Essential ignorance is ignorance in relation to some essential circumstance so intimately connected with the matter in question, and which so influences the parties, that it induces them to act in the business. Both. Vente, nn. 3, 4; 2 Kent, Comm. 367. Non-essential or accidental ignorance is that which bas not of itself any necessary connection with the business in question, and which is not the true consideration for entering into the contract. Involuntary ignorance is that which does not proceed from choice, and which cannot be overcome by the use of any means of knowledge known to a person and within his power; as the ignorance of a law which has not yet been promulgated. Voluntary ignorance exists when a party might, by taking reasonable pains, have acquired the necessary knowledge. For example, every man might acquire a knowledge of the laws which have been promulgated. Doct. & Stud. 1, 46; Plowd. 348.