What Does It Mean To Be A Knowledgeable Person? (Answered)

Most of us understand that there is a difference between knowledge, intelligence, and experience. For someone to have this trifecta is extremely rare. Most of use have one or two in moderation while not having much of the third. Here in this article, I want to concentrate mostly on what it means to be a knowledgeable person.

A knowledgeable person has gained facts and information about a particular subject or a wide variety of areas. A true knowledgeable person will have the humility to admit that intelligence and experience is necessary to ensure proper understanding and command of the knowledge gained.

To fully understand what being knowledgeable means, it will also be necessary to juxtapose it with both intelligence and experience. Along with these comparisons, I will also dive into the qualities a knowledgeable person will have and what names we give those that have knowledge on differing levels.

What Does Being A Knowledgeable Person Mean?

There can be confusion on what it really means to be knowledgeable about a particular subject and the difference in being a knowledgeable person overall. This is further clouded by how intelligence plays in and what role experience has. In general, what does it mean then to be a knowledgeable person?

A knowledgeable person is someone who has command of a large number of facts and information about a wide variety of subjects. Though some may know a lot about one particular area, to be a knowledgeable person one must have retained information about several topics in many categories.

Later in this article we will go further into how intelligence can aide in the acquisition and understanding of the information, but it is not as important as some may think. Being knowledgeable about a particular subject doesn’t necessarily mean that one completely understands a topic.

Knowledge is the collecting of information, and collecting this information alone is over half of what makes a knowledgeable person… knowledgeable.

If collecting facts and information about something was all that was required and understanding what was collected was a foregone conclusion, then memorization would be all that was needed in any form of education. Yet, we know this is not the case.

Intelligence can extend a persons ability to gather information and retain it. In a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, researchers found that general knowledge accounted for around half of the variances in knowledge based assessments of test subjects.

Some other factors that played a part in increased performance were openness, interests, and the ability to intellectually engage. Though knowledge itself is the foundation of a knowledgeable person overall, there are several other issues that can help or detract from it in each person’s particular circumstance.

What Is A Knowledgeable Person Called?

To make ourselves into more knowledgeable people and teach our kids how to be as well, it can help to look at it in comparison with other terms and names that may have more meaning to us. We have experience with different vocabulary depending on our backgrounds. So, what are some things that knowledgeable people are called?

Here is a short list of what a knowledgeable person can be called…

  • Well informed – This is a person that has been given or has found information about a specific topic and can hold intellectual conversations about the subject. This does not mean all opinions and conclusions this person has will be correct, only that they will be able to base them on accurate facts.
  • Learned – A person deemed as learned is a more general affirmation and points more to a true knowledgeable person. This is not always the case since the bias of the means or institution can skew facts and therefore resulting conclusions, but in general this refers to a knowledgeable person overall.
  • Well read – Someone who has learned by study, whether in formal education or on their own, is said to be well read. The implication here is a knowledgeable person in general and it points to the source of that knowledge being study.
  • Well educated – This designation points to a formal acquiring of knowledge. Yet, it can hold both the distinction of a specific subject or an overall knowledge of several areas.
  • Scholarly – Here again we are speaking about a formal education and usually of the graduate level or above. It can be subject specific or have many areas in mind. A further connotation of this term would point to the acceptance of the work of other scholars and having knowledge that is backed up by others in pertinent fields.

On the other hand, a good way to understand what a knowledgeable person truly is can be to look at what one is not. There are words that describe the opposite of a knowledgeable person that helps to define what one is by delineating the boundaries.

Here is a short list of terms used for those that exemplify the opposite of what a knowledgeable person is…

  • Ignorant – This is not a term as some might suppose that speaks to one’s intelligence level. Ignorant points to a lack of knowledge or pertinent facts about a subject. A lack of ability to acquire this knowledge would indicate a lack of intelligence. Here the person simply hasn’t come across the information whether by choice or chance.
  • Ill-informed – Here we are concerned with particular subjects and a lack of acquired information. An ill-informed person is not someone that lacks information in general, but usually on a specific subject.
  • Uneducated – A lack of formal training either in trade or general education is noted here. Again, this is not commenting on the ability to learn, just the fact that education has not be sought or given. This can be about a specific subject or used as a general term.
  • Unlearned – Much like uneducated, this points to a lack of formal training or education. This one more than uneducated though is usually used about a specific subject. It can be noted about a person in general, but it tends to be more narrow in its focus.

As you can see, to be a knowledgeable person, it takes a general understanding of several subjects unless specific areas are mentioned. When using these terms of course, the context will define what is meant.

Though in general, a knowledgeable person is one that has command of facts and information in a variety of topics.

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How Do You Describe Someone With Great Knowledge?

Now that we have the general understanding of what it means to be knowledgeable, let’s take it a step further. For someone who is considered to be knowledgeable it is a designation that sets them apart from others around them. What if someone is more well-informed than all other well educated people around them?

What would you call someone with great knowledge?

  • Expert – This is an extremely knowledgeable person in a particular subject. This also has the expectation of higher intelligence and experience as well. To reach the level of expert most would assume an intellect capable of achieving such a status and the experience required to support it.
  • Master – A master whether speaking of a trade, a martial art, or a post graduate degree points to an intricate knowledge about a specific subject. Here again there is an expectation of more than just the requisite knowledge.
  • Authority – An authority on a particular subject is essentially saying the same thing as an expert or master. Here though an ‘ought’ is implied. When someone is named an authority, we assume that we ought to listen to their conclusions based on their knowledge.

Words that should not be used as synonyms for someone with great knowledge include genius, brilliant, and wise. These have more to do with intelligence than with knowledge alone. Though there are crossovers between the two, they are not necessarily the same.

What Are The Qualities Of A Knowledgeable Person?

Here is where this makes sense for people wanting to better themselves and for parents wanting to raise knowledgeable children. Seeing as this is a site dedicated to helping parents raise children in the best way possible, it is important to look at the qualities of a knowledgeable person and how we and our children can become one.

Here are some things that we can work on and can model for our kids to do in order to be come a knowledgeable person.

  • Be well-read: Reading the classics or at least books that are slightly above our level expands our minds and exposes us not only to new vocabulary, but different cultures and ideas. Classical literature like classical music speaks to our lives as humans more than others because of the overlapping patterns of meaning they masterfully weave. We recognize this and identify with it because it mimics how we experience life. We don’t even have to like the story or sound to relate to it.
  • Study philosophy: The ability to reason and use logic makes sense of the knowledge we acquire. These ‘dawn upon’ moments are many times where we get our motivation to learn more. It helps us categorize and understand the knowledge we receive.
  • Pursue Humility: Understanding and accepting the limitations of knowledge alone and our capacity to collect it is vital. When we give in to pride and assume we are better simply because we have more information it is a misuse of the knowledge that essentially has nothing to do with us. We are simply privileged to know it.

In order to become more knowledgeable overall these are some of the qualities that can help. To become a more knowledgeable person in a specific area, it will take dedication and tenacity. Direct reading and study in that area is required.

What Is The Difference Between Knowledgeable And Experienced?

Here we have two words that compliment each other, but terms that don’t mean exactly the same thing. A person that has both can become much better since they support one another. So, what is the difference between a knowledgeable person and an experienced person?

Knowledgeable is defined by information acquired about a specific subject on a theoretical basis. The person need not to have partaken of it first hand. An Experienced person is someone who has gained understanding through interaction. Neither necessarily has to do with the other.

Many researchers and academics spend their days studying things that are far removed from their experiences. Some subjects are even metaphysical in their properties like mathematics. These areas give little opportunity to experience them.

Then there are things that can be understood on a much deeper level by personally interacting with the subject matter. Martial arts is notoriously this way. There are so many variable and the solutions must come in stressful and time sensitive environments.

Experience can also apply in academic environments as well, only it will be the act of study rather than the specific subject one has experience in. Take the mathematician again for example. We could say that he is an experienced mathematician, but that would only speak to his time of study.

We could say that he is experienced at mathematics in general, but again that would only speak to his time in study.

On the other hand, when saying someone is knowledgeable in the field of math, this points to the amount of information at his command about math itself. Though these distinctions are nuanced, they do point to the difference in these terms and how we apply them to people that display their traits.

What Is An Intelligent Person Called?

It is important to understand the difference between intelligence and knowledge. These are complimentary, but separate terms.

Knowledgeable has to do more with the amount of information about one or more subjects someone has exposed themselves to. We can also do this for our children to help them with perspective on life and the world.

Intelligence is something that is genetically encoded into our DNA. There is some contoversy about this in modern social justice areas, but the hard data points to hard coded parameters in our makeups that can be more or less objectively measured.

I.Q. tests are some of the ways that this can be determined, though even these are being shunned today due to some deeming them tools for exclusion. Whether intelligence has social issues is not the subject of this article though.

What we are wanting to find out in this section is what we would call an intelligent person that we wouldn’t use for someone that is knowledgeable. This is instructive in knowing the difference in the two terms that has existed throughout the development of the English langauge.

Here are some terms used to describe an intelligent person…

  • Wise – A wise person is one that has the ability to understand complex concepts even if all of the information is not readily available. Someone who is wise may not even need all of the pertinent facts to be able to infer them and come to a reasonable conclusion.
  • Brilliant – This type of person would also be known as wise, but with a higher intelligence and ability to use reason and logic. They may even need less of the surrounding information to come up with at least an adequate solution to problems. They also use their heightened intellect to be innovative and creative.
  • Smart – Like someone who is considered wise, intelligence is what is noted in designating someone as smart. Though many would use this as a lesser form of wise and maybe pointing to more specific subjects.
  • Discerning – This refers to someone able to use intelligence and reason to understand and develop solutions to problems.

Though many of these overlap with one another, they all are somewhat independent from knowledge of facts and information. Though knowledge is definitely needed, it is a tool used by the intellect and wise, smart, or brilliant people do just that.

The Knowledgeable Person Takeaway…

Being a knowledgeable person is aided by intelligence and experience, yet they are not the same thing. Being knowledgeable in an area or in general is not a protection against making bad choices or conclusions. Many false theories and wrong solutions have come from those that are knowledgeable in their fields.

A knowledgeable person has to employ sound reason and use intelligence to have proper understanding of the acquired knowledge. It is not enough to simply collect facts, it is important to be able to interpret what they could mean and how they apply.

It is important to be knowledgeable, but just as important to be able to apply what was learned.

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Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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