naive

adjective
na·​ive | \ nä-ˈēv How to pronounce naive (audio) , nī- \
variants: or naïve
naiver; naivest

Definition of naive

1 : marked by unaffected simplicity : artless, ingenuous "Coat!" said Russelton, with an appearance of the most naive surprise …; "coat, Sir Willoughby! do you call this thing a coat?"— Edward Bulwer-Lytton
2a : deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment their naive ignorance of life … when they were first married— Arnold Bennett especially : credulous … tells tall tales of the West to tweak naïve city slickers. — Miriam Horn
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 (such as marijuana)
c : not having been exposed previously to an antigen naive T cells
b : produced by or as if by a self-taught artist naive murals

Other Words from naive

naively or naïvely adverb
naiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of naive in a Sentence

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 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 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 a naive belief that all people are good a naive view of the world She asked a lot of naive questions. I was young and naive at the time, and I didn't think anything bad could happen to me. The plan seems a little naive. If you're naive enough to believe him, you'll believe anyone. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Gift registries are so common now that the very idea of deferring to the donors’ ideas is deemed naive. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 And while children under 5 are too young to be vaccinated, that does not mean that their immune systems are completely naive to the virus. Tara Law, Time, 25 Apr. 2022 This may sound naive to the younger generation, but this type of empathic behavior was the standard for decades. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 The series is named after a Kinks song that insists better things lie ahead, but Adlon isn’t so naive. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 2 Mar. 2022 That means the usual EFT calculation of the cosmological constant is too naive. Quanta Magazine, 1 Mar. 2022 The entire population — 330 million people — were immunologically naive, that is, susceptible to infection. Carla K. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Feb. 2022 The entire population — 330 million people — were immunologically naive, that is, susceptible to infection. chicagotribune.com, 17 Feb. 2022 Mahfoud, on the other hand, is naive and idealistic and unable to shrug off the insults of the French, whether coded or direct. Alissa Simon, Variety, 17 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of naive

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for naive

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

Learn More About naive

Dictionary Entries Near naive

naissant

naive

naïve realism

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for naive

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Naive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/naive. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for naive

naive

adjective
na·​ive
variants: or naïve \ nä-​ˈēv \
naiver; naivest

Kids Definition of naive

1 : showing lack of experience or knowledge He asked a lot of naive questions.
2 : being simple and sincere

Other Words from naive

naively adverb

naive

adjective
na·​ive
variants: or naïve \ nä-​ˈēv How to pronounce naive (audio) \
naiver; naivest

Medical Definition of naive

1 : not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation naive laboratory rats
2 : not having previously used a particular drug (as marijuana)
3 : not having been exposed previously to an antigen a naive immune system naive T cells

More from Merriam-Webster on naive

Nglish: Translation of naive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of naive for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!