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 the experienced man speaks simply and wisely to the naive girl— Gilbert Highet
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web There is an element of exploitation that goes into casting reality TV shows and many of the contestants are super young, naive, intimidated, and not really given the time to consult lawyers, etc. Dalton Ross,, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: How the show inspired Nicole Delma to take on Amazon and plastic," 23 Mar. 2021 Today, that view will seem to some naive and to many dated. Washington Post, "Phillips Collection is turning 100 and showing what future of classic museums can be," 9 Mar. 2021 The best way for Republicans to combat the naive but now rising call for socialism in America is to make capitalism's opportunities more widely and equally available. Tim Pawlenty, Star Tribune, "Tim Pawlenty: Where does the GOP go from here?," 10 Jan. 2021 It was supposed to be a throwaway joke, just one of many in the beloved comedy starring Murphy as naive prince Akeem, of the fictional nation of Zamunda, and Arsenio Hall as his beleaguered attaché Semmi. Jason Newman, Rolling Stone, "Shine Through: The Definitive Oral History of ‘Soul Glo’," 4 Mar. 2021 Here's how: If one extreme is a population totally naive to a new virus, completely vulnerable and with no immunity, and the other extreme is a population with perfect sterilizing immunity, what happens to a population in between? Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Raging Evolutionary War Between Humans and Covid-19," 1 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, some pandemic experts say that presuming a return to normal public life, critical to Disney, would be naive anytime in the near future. Washington Post, "Disney took a hit during the pandemic, but you wouldn’t know it from its stock price," 19 Feb. 2021 Democrats also say they will not be burned again by expectations for bipartisanship that proved to be naive during the Obama years. Alexandra Jaffe And Jonathan Lemire, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden’s dilemma in virus aid fight: Go big or go bipartisan," 7 Feb. 2021 The left commonly portrays these matters as a choice between naive and ineffectual bipartisanship and a full-throated liberal economic agenda that will transform America for decades and leave the Republican Party reeling. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Biden Is Wise to Negotiate With Senate Republicans," 2 Feb. 2021

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.

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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

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Statistics for naive

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Naive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for naive



English Language Learners Definition of naive

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


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


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on naive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for naive

Nglish: Translation of naive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of naive for Arabic Speakers

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