ingenue

play
noun in·ge·nue \ ˈan-jə-ˌnü , ˈän- ; ˈaⁿ-zhə- , ˈäⁿ- \
variants: or ingénue

Definition of ingenue

1 :a naive girl or young woman
2 :the stage role of an ingenue; also :an actress playing such a role

ingenue was our Word of the Day on 12/13/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of ingenue in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of ingenue from the Web

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

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."

Origin and Etymology of ingenue

French ingénue, feminine of ingénu ingenuous, from Latin ingenuus

Other Performing Arts Terms


INGENUE Defined for English Language Learners

ingenue

play
noun

Definition of ingenue for English Language Learners

  • : an innocent girl or young woman


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a strongly worded attack

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