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 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 When Secretary of State Pompeo is out there saying, well, ‘maximum pressure, our goal is to get them back to the negotiating table,’ no naive child would believe that. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Pentagon vigorously defends Trump’s decision to kill top Iranian general, and the intelligence behind it," 7 Jan. 2020 This may sound naive, because of course any intervention runs the risk of making a bad situation worse. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: How a college student can help siblings left in a dysfunctional home," 25 Nov. 2019 In the family’s first few months in Anna, Atarah and Amiyah received some naive questions from their white classmates. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Revisiting an American Town Where Black People Weren’t Welcome After Dark," 7 Nov. 2019 Other voters thought Buttigieg's slogan sounded naive. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Voters say Buttigieg's logo works for beer, a fancy restaurant or 'the fighting Petes'," 5 Oct. 2019 An educated population with legal access for adults won’t prove flawless, but naive or punitive prohibitions have proved markedly worse. WSJ, "Arriving at the Least Bad Marijuana Policy," 11 Jan. 2019 Regardless, any sense of optimism coming out of the White House because of the Mueller announcement is either naive or disingenuous. Martin London, Time, "Robert Mueller Says President Trump Isn’t a ‘Criminal Target.’ Trump Shouldn’t Celebrate Yet," 4 Apr. 2018 The hero of this next movie is a naive, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda and only has imaginary friends. Washington Post, "Golden Globes: 15 things to know, from ‘The Irishman’ shutout to that racy Obama joke," 6 Jan. 2020 The best addition is O'Connor, who nails a carbon copy impression of the Prince of Wales' accent and mannerisms, turning a public figure often portrayed negatively into a sympathetic (if incredibly naive) young man. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: In Season 3, ‘The Crown’ isn’t really about Queen Elizabeth anymore," 15 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for naive

Time Traveler

The first known use of naive was in 1614

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Statistics for naive

Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Naive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/naive. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for naive

naive

adjective
How to pronounce naive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of naive

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

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 naïve (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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with naive

Spanish Central: Translation of naive

Nglish: Translation of naive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of naive for Arabic Speakers

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