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adjective, na·ive \nä-ˈēv, nī-\

Simple Definition of naive

  • : having or showing a lack of experience or knowledge : innocent or simple

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of naive


  1. 1 :  marked by unaffected simplicity :  artless, ingenuous

  2. 2 a :  deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment; especially :  credulous b :  not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation <made the test with naive rats>; also :  not having previously used a particular drug (as marijuana) c :  not having been exposed previously to an antigen <naive T cells>

  3. 3 a :  self-taught, primitive b :  produced by or as if by a self-taught artist <naive murals>

naively or naïvely adverb
naiveness noun

Examples of naive in a sentence

  1. Secularism requires a commitment to civil liberty, which rests partly on respect for civil disobedience—peaceful acts of conscience that challenge rules of law. If civil libertarianism is naïve, then so is the hope of secular government. —Wendy Kaminer, Free Inquiry, December 2008/January 2009

  2. He exhibits a naïve sort of confidence when talking about the doubts surrounding him and the perceived slights in the draft run-up. —Peter King, Sports Illustrated, 1 May 2006

  3. His crimes were described as mere bumps in the road, minor offenses committed by a man-boy described as innocent, naïve, trusting, a simple country boy who got lost in airports and was astonished to find out that he could order a pizza over the phone. —Pat Jordan, Harper's, October 2004

  4. a naive belief that all people are good

  5. a naive view of the world

  6. She asked a lot of naive questions.

  7. I was young and naive at the time, and I didn't think anything bad could happen to me.

  8. The plan seems a little naive.

  9. If you're naive enough to believe him, you'll believe anyone.

Variants of naive

or naïve play \nä-ˈēv, nī-\

Origin of naive

French naïve, feminine of naïf, from Old French, inborn, natural, from Latin nativus native

First Known Use: 1654

Synonym Discussion of naive

natural, ingenuous, naive, unsophisticated, artless mean free from pretension or calculation. natural implies lacking artificiality and self-consciousness and having a spontaneousness suggesting the natural rather than the man-made world <her unaffected, natural manner>. ingenuous implies inability to disguise or conceal one's feelings or intentions <the ingenuous enthusiasm of children>. naive suggests lack of worldly wisdom often connoting credulousness and unchecked innocence <politically naive>. unsophisticated implies a lack of experience and training necessary for social ease and adroitness <unsophisticated adolescents>. artless suggests a naturalness resulting from unawareness of the effect one is producing on others <artless charm>.

NAIVE Defined for Kids


adjective na·ive \nä-ˈēv\

Definition of naive for Students


  1. 1 :  showing lack of experience or knowledge <He asked a lot of naive questions.>

  2. 2 :  being simple and sincere

naively adverb

Variants of naive

or naïve \nä-ˈēv\

Word Root of naive

The Latin word nāscī, meaning “to be born,” and its form nātus give us the roots nat and nai. Words from the Latin nāscī have something to do with being born. When someone is native to a particular place, she or he was born there. A nation, or country, is a place where people are born. Anyone naive has a lack of knowledge and experience as if he or she was only recently born.

Medical Dictionary


adjective na·ive

Medical Definition of naive

naiver; est

  1. 1:  not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation <naive laboratory rats>

  2. 2:  not having previously used a particular drug (as marijuana)

  3. 3:  not having been exposed previously to an antigen <a naive immune system> <naive T cells>

Variants of naive

or naïve \nä-ˈēv\play

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up naive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tending to dismiss important matters

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