Definition of ingenuous in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈdʒɛnjʊəs/


(Of a person or action) innocent and unsuspecting: he eyed her with wide, ingenuous eyes she’s staggeringly ingenuous, or possibly very cunning indeed
More example sentences
  • I assure you, I'm neither ingenuous or disingenuous here.
  • Sometimes the reviewer knows nothing of the author or the reputation in which a book comes wrapped, the result being a rare, ingenuous honesty.
  • It had a sly, ingenuous surface, the charming and amusing thoughts of a group of seven-year-olds ruminating on sex, money, school, race, love, mum and dad, the future and each other.
naive, innocent, simple, childlike, trusting, trustful, over-trusting, unwary, unsuspicious, unguarded, unsceptical, uncritical, unworldly, wide-eyed, inexperienced, green;
open, sincere, honest, frank, candid, undeceitful;
direct, forthright, artless, guileless, genuine, unaffected, unstudied, unsophisticated



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈdʒɛnjʊəsli/
Example sentences
  • Whether angling to arrive at a lecture with a victim family member or throwing shade on each other's designs, these architects ingenuously perform for the camera.
  • It's both a juggling and a balancing act where sometimes the fiction wobbles ingenuously, and stumbles away from the security of direct or amplified quotation.
  • If you ask me, he was often fairly on the mark, but he was not one to waste time ingenuously explaining his agenda, unless it was going to further it.


Pronunciation: /ɪnˈdʒɛnjʊəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • But what's captivating about this book is its candor, its ingenuousness, and really its alien-ness.
  • He infuses recurring, revelatory pieces about the emotional effects of a father's absenteeism to complement the ever-unfurling theme of ingenuousness.
  • He shook his head at his friends' ingenuousness.


Late 16th century: from Latin ingenuus literally 'native, inborn', from in- 'into' + an element related to gignere 'beget'. The original sense was 'noble, generous', giving rise to 'honourably straightforward, frank', hence 'innocently frank' (late 17th century).

Words that rhyme with ingenuous

strenuous, tenuous

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|genu|ous

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