Vocabulary Lesson (Identity & Ignorance)

Today’s Theme: Identity & Ignorance

Traits that make up your identity include ethnicity, race, skin color, sex, gender, religion and education. Some aspects of identity are matters of personal choice, whereas others are predetermined. It’s important to understand that while these definitions may seem “cut & dry,” the implications behind many of these terms are far more complex than a dictionary entry can cover.

Identity seems simple to understand, but the origin makes it apparent why some would be ignorant to others over unfamiliar identities. Ignorance, a trigger word for many, isn’t the big bad word we’ve made it out to be. & that’s where we’ll begin.



  • The fact of being who or what a person or thing is.

    1. 1.1 The characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is.
  • A close similarity or affinity.


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘quality of being identical’): from late Latin identitas, from Latin idem ‘same’.



Middle English: via Old French from Latin ignorantia, from ignorant- ‘not knowing’ (see ignorant).


mass noun

  • Lack of knowledge or information.


  • ignorance is bliss

    • proverb If one is unaware of an unpleasant fact or situation one cannot be troubled by it.



  • Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

    1. 1.1 predicative Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about a particular thing.
  • 2 informal Discourteous or rude.

  • West Indian Angry or quick-tempered.



Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin arrogant- ‘claiming for oneself’, from the verb arrogare (see arrogate).


  • Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.



Middle English (in prejudice (sense 2 of the noun)): from Old French, from Latin praejudicium, from prae ‘in advance’ + judicium ‘judgement’.



mass noun

  • Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

    1. 1.1 Dislike, hostility, or unjust behaviour deriving from preconceived and unfounded opinions
  • Law 
    Harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement.


  • Give rise to prejudice in (someone); make biased.

  • Law 
    Cause harm to (a state of affairs)


  • with prejudice

    • Extinguishing any right to pursue a claim in another suit.

  • without prejudice

    • Without detriment to any existing right or claim.



mass noun

  • The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

  • Recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.

    1. 2.1 The ability to judge what is of high quality; good judgement or taste.
    2. 2.2Psychology The ability to distinguish between different stimuli.
      as modifier ‘discrimination learning’



Early 16th century (denoting a group with common features): via French from Italian razza, of unknown ultimate origin.


  • Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

1.1 mass noun The fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this.
1.2 A group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group.
1.3 A group or set of people or things with a common feature or features.
1.4 (Biology) A population within a species that is distinct in some way, especially a subspecies.
1.5 (in non-technical use) each of the major divisions of living creatures.
1.6 literary A group of people descended from a common ancestor.
1.7 archaic mass noun Ancestry.




mass noun

  • Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

    1. 1.1 The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter Global Network is a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

We are expansive. We are a collective of liberators who believe in an inclusive and spacious movement. We also believe that in order to win and bring as many people with us along the way, we must move beyond the narrow nationalism that is all too prevalent in Black communities. We must ensure we are building a movement that brings all of us to the front.

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise. We affirm our humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.


  • (mainly in the US) a movement formed to campaign against systemic racism and violence against black people.



Late Middle English (denoting the two categories, male and female): from Old French sexe or Latin sexus.


  • mass noun (chiefly with reference to people) sexual activity, including specifically sexual intercourse.

    1. 1.1 euphemistic in singular A person’s genitals.
  • Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.

    1. 2.1 The members of either sex considered as a group.
      2.2mass noun The fact of belonging to either the male or female sex.



  • Determine the sex of.

  • 2 (sex something up) informal Present something in a more interesting or lively way.

  • 3 (sex someone up) informal Arouse or attempt to arouse someone sexually.


On the difference in use between the words sex (in sense 2 above) and gender, see gender




Late Middle English: from Old French gendre (modern genre), based on Latin genus ‘birth, family, nation’. The earliest meanings were ‘kind, sort, genus’ and ‘type or class of noun, etc.’ (which was also a sense of Latin genus).


  • Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.

    1. 1.1 Members of a particular gender considered as a group.
    2. 1.2mass noun The fact or condition of belonging to or identifying with a particular gender.
  • 2 (Grammar) (in languages such as Latin, French, and German) each of the classes (typically masculine, feminine, common, neuter) of nouns and pronouns distinguished by the different inflections which they have and which they require in words syntactically associated with them. Grammatical gender is only very loosely associated with natural distinctions of sex.

    1. 2.1 mass noun The property (in nouns and related words) of belonging to a grammatical gender.


The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages. The sense denoting biological sex has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid 20th century. Although the words gender and sex are often used interchangeably, they have slightly different connotations; sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender more often refers to cultural and social differences and sometimes encompasses a broader range of identities than the binary of male and female



mass noun

  • Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

Time’s Up

TIME’S UP is an organization that insists on safe, fair and dignified work for women of all kinds. We want women from the factory floor to the floor of the Stock Exchange, from child care centers to C-suites, from farm fields to the tech field, to be united by a shared sense of safety, fairness and dignity as they work and as we all shift the paradigm of workplace culture.

Me Too

The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Our vision from the beginning was to address both the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities.



Late 19th century: from French féminisme.

  • The issue of rights for women first became prominent during the French and American revolutions in the late 18th century. In Britain it was not until the emergence of the suffragette movement in the late 19th century that there was significant political change. A ‘second wave’ of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood; seminal figures included Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer. A ‘third wave’ was identified in the late 1980s and 1990s, as a reaction against the perceived lack of focus on class and race issues in earlier movements


mass noun

  • The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes



Late 19th century: named after Nicolas Chauvin, a Napoleonic veteran noted for his extreme patriotism, popularized as a character by the Cogniard brothers in Cocarde Tricolore (1831).


mass noun

  • 1Exaggerated or aggressive patriotism.

    1. 1.1 Excessive or prejudiced support for one’s own cause, group, or sex.

Action Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Homosexuality & Bisexuality



mass noun

  • Dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.




mass noun

  • Dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.


GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.



  • A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.



  • A person who leaves their own country in order to settle permanently in another.



  • A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.



  • A person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.



Middle English: via Old French from Latin alienus ‘belonging to another’, from alius ‘other’.


  • Belonging to a foreign country.

    1. 1.1 (of a plant or animal species) introduced from another country and later naturalized.
  • Unfamiliar and disturbing or distasteful.

  • Supposedly from another world; extraterrestrial.


  • A foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where he or she is living.

    1. 1.1 A plant or animal species originally introduced from another country and later naturalized.
  • A hypothetical or fictional being from another world.



mass noun

Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

As always, all the following definitions are pulled directly from the Oxford Dictionary for English, unless otherwise cited. Definitions are not a matter of opinion. Oxford explains how their dictionaries are created:

Using world-class technology, our dictionary programmes constantly monitor the use of language so that our experts can identify and record the changes taking place. The result is dictionaries which give a window on to how language is used today.


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