na·​ïf | \ nä-ˈēf How to pronounce naïf (audio) \
variants: or naif

Definition of naïf

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a naive person


variants: or naif

Definition of naïf (Entry 2 of 2)

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Examples of naïf in a Sentence

Adjective the senator, newly elected and still naïf, will learn soon enough how Washington really works
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s a Twain-like quality to this loyal naif who skewers without intending to. Washington Post, "Christopher Buckley’s ‘Make Russia Great Again’ is the Trump satire we’ve been waiting for," 6 July 2020 Samuel Greenberg, the doomed, gnomic poet-naif Crane describes, was already six years dead at the time of the letter’s writing, having succumbed to tuberculosis in 1917, at the age of twenty-three, in the Manhattan State Hospital on Wards Island. Dustin Illingworth, The New York Review of Books, "A Lost Original," 29 Apr. 2020 Aaron Paul is still good as Pinkman, an older and wearier character than the young naif who started working as White’s assistant in the first season more than a decade ago. T.w., The Economist, "“El Camino” is a passable but pointless postscript to “Breaking Bad”," 14 Oct. 2019 From reckless naif to cautious veteran of pain and regret, Becc traces a route familiar to many of us., "5 novels to escape with this summer," 1 Aug. 2019 The show’s drama pivots upon the question of whether Mr. Pickles is a Mr. Rogers-style innocent, or a naif out of step with the modern world. Akiva Gottlieb,, "With 'Kidding,' Jim Carrey delves into the many facets of identity," 14 June 2019 Barclays was accused of defrauding those financial naifs at Citibank—even while Justice claimed that Citibank perpetrated the same scheme. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Obama-Style Bank Heist," 18 Nov. 2018 In 2012, Popkin had learned about trees to cure this blindness in himself and went from a naif who could barely pick out an oak tree to an amateur arboriculturist who can distinguish hundreds of trees. Susan Crawford, WIRED, "What Are Screens Doing to Our Eyes—And Our Ability to See?," 27 Mar. 2018 Foreign policy veterans more accustomed to blasting Trump as a naif and a nationalist who has eroded U.S. leadership in the international institutions built since World War II found themselves praising him, albeit often with caveats. Susan Page, USA TODAY, "Analysis: With historic North Korea talks, both Trump and Kim get something they crave," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'naïf.' 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 naïf


1891, in the meaning defined above


circa 1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for naïf



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Time Traveler for naïf

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The first known use of naïf was circa 1598

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Cite this Entry

“Naïf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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