not know (any) better

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not know (any) better

1. To not have the knowledge or development to behave correctly or make an informed decision. Don't get so mad at him for writing on the walls—he's two, he doesn't know any better.
2. To not have (contradictory) information about something. Used in the construction "if I didn't know (any) better" to sarcastically or ironically suggest that something is probably or obviously the case. If I didn't know better, I'd be inclined to believe that these megacorporations don't actually care two figs about consumers. Say, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were actually enjoying yourself, just like I said you would!
See also: better, know, not

not know any ˈbetter

not behave well, politely, etc. because you have never learned how to: You can’t blame him for his bad table manners; he doesn’t know any better.
See also: any, better, know, not
References in periodicals archive ?
"When he comes off mean and insensitive, it's just because he doesn't know any better.
But when Louis, himself a former leader of a notorious prison gang, gets wind of plans to use Beecher to bring in contraband, he hits a fork in the road that compels him to choose between steering clear of potentially deadly complications and saving the life of a young inmate who just doesn't know any better.
To wit, your employer, not you, chooses your 401(k) investment options, and your choices may be less than optimal either because your employer doesn't know any better or because your employer's interests are different than yours.
"I could understand if he was in like middle school or high school, where he really understands - even fourth or fifth grade - but he doesn't know any better," she said.
I think the wee No.8 is just a young boy though - he maybe doesn't know any better. But hopefully if he sees a fellow footballer down injured next time he'll have a wee bit of respect to put the ball out of the park and let him get treatment."
He's seventy-nine, he doesn't know any better." It excuses that individual--but it perpetuates the idea that old people are bigots who can't adapt to changing social mores.
Essentially, the public likes garbage because it doesn't know any better.
But she's fine, healthy and happy, and doesn't know any better."
But let's be generous and assume your co-worker doesn't know any better. She undoubtedly figures that co-workers are in a separate category and she doesn't need to include their spouses.
"I think that the average person who throws a flag away just doesn't know any better way to dispose of it.
System 2 can also make mistakes because it doesn't know any better. But education helps provide System 2 with more information to make its decisions.
He doesn't know any better than I do where those ideas will come from, but at least he has some understanding of why and how they are important.
"She doesn't know any better. Only Sarah Palin would eat pizza with a fork in New York," the New York Daily News quoted Darrell Carter, an exterminator from the Bronx, as saying.
If you are discriminated against, feel sorry for the poor ignorant person who doesn't know any better! You can be an astronaut if you want to.
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