cred·​u·​lous | \ˈkre-jə-ləs \

Definition of credulous 

1 : ready to believe especially on slight or uncertain evidence accused of swindling credulous investors Few people are credulous enough to believe such nonsense.

2 : proceeding from credulity credulous superstitions

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Other Words from credulous

credulously adverb
credulousness noun

Did You Know?

It’s easier to give credit to people who adhere to their creed than to give credence to what miscreants say, or for that matter, to find recreants altogether credible. That sentence contains a half dozen words which, like today’s credulous, are descendants of credere, the Latin verb that means "to believe" or "to trust": credit ("honor," as well as "belief"); creed ("guiding principle"); credence ("acceptance as true"); miscreant ("a heretic" or a criminal); recreant ("coward, deserter"); and credible ("offering reasonable grounds for being believed"). Credulous is even more closely allied to the nouns credulity and credulousness (both meaning "gullibility"), and of course its antonym, incredulous ("skeptical," also "improbable").

Examples of credulous in a Sentence

Few people are credulous enough to believe such nonsense.

Recent Examples on the Web

The more credulous members of the media too often bought that act. David Dayen, The New Republic, "A Fitting End to Paul Ryan’s Fraudulent Political Career," 22 May 2018 The periodical’s skeptical approach to advertisers and authority figures helped raise a less credulous and more critical generation in the 1960s and 1970s. Michael J. Socolow, Smithsonian, "In its Heyday, Mad Magazine Was a Lot More Than Silly Jokes," 11 May 2018 The most skeptical assumptions about Trump somehow proved too credulous. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Bribe Ukraine to Stop Cooperating With Mueller?," 2 May 2018 In short, between this and other recent conduct, the threat demonstrates that anti-Trump vigor -- like pro-Trump vigor -- is not a good reason to put credulous trust in someone. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Michael Avenatti isn’t a liberal hero. He’s a lawyer.," 14 May 2018 There’s some juice in Mr. Rhodes’s reaction, more bruised than angry, to a profile in The New York Times Magazine, in which he is portrayed as finding the Washington press corps both ignorant and credulous. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Final Year,’ a Countdown for Obama-Era Diplomacy," 18 Jan. 2018 But among people in Eiseman’s profession, as with the hordes of credulous color enthusiasts who populate the internet, her views are not only uncontroversial but well within the mainstream. Bruce Falconer, New York Times, "What Is the Perfect Color Worth?," 28 Feb. 2018 House Republicans are promising that more memos will come, and Kimberley Strassel (who has played the same credulous role in both Climategate and the memo episode) is already teasing new shocking findings to follow. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "‘The Memo’ Follows the Republican Plan to Destroy Neutral Authority," 5 Feb. 2018 Lili Taylor and the perpetual indie favorite Ron Livingston are a credulous, sympathetic couple in the face of such incredulous, unsympathetic events. Tom Philip, GQ, "Mess Up Your Weekend By Streaming The Conjuring, One of the Best Pure Horror Movies Ever, on Netflix," 3 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'credulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of credulous

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for credulous

Latin credulus, from credere to believe, entrust — more at creed

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Time Traveler for credulous

The first known use of credulous was in 1553

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English Language Learners Definition of credulous

: too ready to believe things : easily fooled or cheated

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Comments on credulous

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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