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ingenue

noun in·ge·nue \ˈan-jə-ˌnü, ˈän-; ˈaⁿ-zhə-, ˈäⁿ-\

Simple Definition of ingenue

  • : an innocent girl or young woman

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ingenue

  1. 1 :  a naive girl or young woman

  2. 2 :  the stage role of an ingenue; also :  an actress playing such a role

Examples of ingenue in a sentence

  1. In her latest film she plays the part of an ingenue.



Did You Know?

Although Becky Sharp, the ambitious heroine of William Makepeace Thackeray's 1848 novel Vanity Fair, is not usually thought of as innocent or naïve, the first recorded use of "ingenue" in English does refer to her. Thackeray's use was attributive: "When attacked sometimes, Becky had a knack of adopting a demure ingenue air, under which she was most dangerous." The word ingenue typically refers to someone who is innocent to the ways of the world, so you probably won't be too surprised to learn that it shares an ancestor, Latin ingenuus, with "ingenuous," a word meaning "showing innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness." More directly, our "ingenue" comes from French ingénue, the feminine form of ingénu, meaning "ingenuous."

Variants of ingenue

or ingénue play \ˈan-jə-ˌnü, ˈän-; ˈaⁿ-zhə-, ˈäⁿ-\

Origin of ingenue

French ingénue, feminine of ingénu ingenuous, from Latin ingenuus


First Known Use: 1848

Other Performing Arts Terms


Learn More about ingenue

  1. Spanish Central: Translation of "ingenue"


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