naive

play
adjective na·ive \nä-ˈēv, nī-\
variants: or

naïve

Definition of naive

naiver

;

naivest

  1. 1 :  marked by unaffected simplicity :  artless, ingenuous the experienced man speaks simply and wisely to the naive girl — Gilbert Highet

  2. 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 Hornb :  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

  3. 3a :  self-taught, primitiveb :  produced by or as if by a self-taught artist naive murals

naively

or

naïvely

adverb

naiveness

noun

Examples of naive in a Sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. a naive belief that all people are good

  5. a naive view of the world

  6. She asked a lot of naive questions.

  7. I was young and naive at the time, and I didn't think anything bad could happen to me.

  8. The plan seems a little naive.

  9. If you're naive enough to believe him, you'll believe anyone.

Recent Examples of naive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of naive

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

NAIVE Defined for English Language Learners

naive

play
adjective

Definition of naive for English Language Learners

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


NAIVE Defined for Kids

naive

play
adjective na·ive \nä-ˈēv\
variants: or

naïve

\nä-ˈēv\

Definition of naive for Students

naiver

;

naivest

  1. 1 :  showing lack of experience or knowledge He asked a lot of naive questions.

  2. 2 :  being simple and sincere

naively

adverb

Word Root of naive

The Latin word nāscī, meaning “to be born,” and its form nātus give us the roots nat and nai. Words from the Latin nāscī have something to do with being born. When someone is native to a particular place, she or he was born there. A nation, or country, is a place where people are born. Anyone naive has a lack of knowledge and experience as if he or she was only recently born.


Medical Dictionary

naive

adjective na·ive
variants: or

naïve

\nä-ˈēv\play

Medical Definition of naive

naiver

;

est

  1. 1:  not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation naive laboratory rats

  2. 2:  not having previously used a particular drug (as marijuana)

  3. 3:  not having been exposed previously to an antigen a naive immune system naive T cells



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