I want to say that I don't know Python (a programming language), whose precise meaning is that I have zero knowledge on Python. I want to say it in a concise way, i.e., using it as a construction part in a longer sentence, e.g., something along the form of I am Python-agnostic or I am Python-blind, is there something like these?

UPDATE: My choice is "python illiterate". To use it in a sentence --

He has turned himself from Python illiterate to Python expert.

Any other answers just can't beat this.

  • 6
    Neither of those alternatives would mean anything near "I don't know Python" (I'm not sure what they would mean, but not "I don't know Python"). Really, "I don't know Python" is a pretty concise way to say it.
    – cpast
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 4:15
  • "You are very new to Python" may serve as an alternative, to me. But I am not a native speaker.
    – Yes
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 4:23
  • 2
    Don't make simple things complex. KISS -I don't know Python/JAVA/Android etc. (programming).
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 4:55

6 Answers 6


I'm python illiterate. -- might serve.

Agnostic would miss the mark quite widely btw . Agnostic suggests a lack of preference in code speak, or open-mindedness -- people who can use *nix and Windows may say that they are OS-agnostic. In this way agnostic denotes familiarity with and ability to use, rather than a lack of understanding.

  • Your "btw" is very true! I can be a "python believer" even if I've never coded a single line. (I might know other programmers who have used it to perform monumental tasks with minimal effort.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 14:16
  • I'm glad my answer is accepted although the other one is voted higher! The contention that programmers are only saying they have no ideological connection with a language when they say "agnostic" is logically inconsistent; to have no ideological problem with a language, you kind of have to be familiar with it as a coder--otherwise you should say you just don't know it. Sure you might be of liberal character and not mind the unknown...If someone were to say they were "OS agnostic" in an interview and later not be able to use Linux... well that would look terrible -- might even get them fired.
    – sas08
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 15:33

The simplest, most concise way to say you don't know Python is "I don't know Python." It's what a native speaker would normally say.

Python-illiterate would probably be understood to mean the same thing, but it might be heard as a somewhat humorous what to phrase it because it's so different from the usual. Depending on the listener, they might need further clarification, because this is an unusual way to say you don't know a language. So using it is riskier than using "I don't know Python."

The example of Python-agnostic would imply that you've got an ideological issue with python, because agnostic is commonly used in religious contexts. I've got no idea what Python-blind would mean.

  • 2
    I understand agnostic to mean "no specific preference " not "opposed to". I wouldn't say Python-agnostic though. I might say scripting language agnostic or OS agnostic.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 15:52
  • Made that part less specific, because agnostic could be interpreted in different ways. But definitely a bad choice if all you are saying is that you don't know something.
    – Karen
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 15:59

I agree with comments of others that "I don't know Python" does the job. To me, either of your two choices "python agnostic" and "python blind" says that you don't know python and you don't really care.

  • 1
    I agree on agnostic. Python-blind tells me you don't know what Python is and you can't perceive it when someone tries to explain it... which would be a weird thing to tell me.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 21:02

Slightly terser and clearer (in written form, at least) than the already acceptable "I don't know Python" would be "I know no Python". This clarifies that you have, in fact, not merely relatively little Python experience, but none at all.

  • But, "I know no Python" implies (unless you're speaking dramatically perhaps), "I know what Python is (a programming language) but I don't know any of the details". "I don't know Python" can be wider - "Until this moment I never even heard of Python" Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 16:25

"I don't know Python" is probably the best, and "I'm Python illiterate" is pretty good too. Those would be easily understood.

Here are a few other possibilities:

  • I'm Python-naive.
  • I'm a Python novice.
  • I know no Python.
  • "Python novice" could work, but that sounds like the speaker knows at least a smattering of Python, as opposed to no Python at all. (Another humorous way to convey such very limited knowledge is: I know just enough Python to be dangerous.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 23:15
  • @J.R. I agree, "python novice" is not the best. "I don't know Python" is probably the best.
    – DCShannon
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 0:56
  • Perhaps, but "python novice" could be perfect if the person knows a little bit.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 1:27

You can borrow from PC-speak and say "I am Python-challenged."

  • 4
    I would take this to mean that the speaker has difficulty programming with Python, rather than has a limited knowledge of it. Knowledge and ability might be correlated, but not necessarily.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 14:18

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