na·​ive·​te | \ nä-ˌēv-ˈtā How to pronounce naivete (audio) , -ˌē-və-; nä-ˈēv-ˌtā, -ˈē-və-; nī-\
variants: or naïveté or less commonly naiveté

Definition of naivete

1 : a naive remark or action The farce is noted for its ridiculous acts and naïvetés.
2 : the quality or state of being naive His account sometimes displays a gee-whiz naiveté— Gregory McNamee

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Examples of naivete in a Sentence

her naïveté led her to leave her new car unlocked while she shopped at the mall though he was streetwise, the investigative reporter regularly assumed an air of naïveté when he was interviewing confidence men, charlatans, counterfeiters, and other assorted swindlers of the general public

Recent Examples on the Web

From the start, Whitehead pushes hard on Elwood’s naivete. Ron Charles,, "‘The Nickel Boys’: Colson Whitehead considers harsh reality of American experiment in follow-up to ‘The Underground Railroad’," 11 July 2019 From the start, Whitehead pushes hard on Elwood’s naivete. Ron Charles Critic, Washington Post, "In Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Nickel Boys,’ an idealistic black teen learns a harsh reality," 9 July 2019 Yao and Song make a fetching pair, but the enthusiasm, naivete and self-sacrifice of LanQing and Guan Yong are simply old movie conventions and far from ringing true. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Beautiful Voyage': Film Review | Shanghai 2019," 16 June 2019 Patel, who spends most of the movie scowling and looking anxious, has a simple, pure voice that perfectly captures the mix of naivete and virtuosity that beguiled the Beatles’ fans in the first place. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Yesterday’ is a lovely dalliance, if thin and a bit long," 27 June 2019 One ends with loss of naivete, the second ends with loss of innocence, and the third ends with loss of life itself. Abbey Maxbauer,, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix's Dark Season 2 Recap," 25 June 2019 Teen Vogue spoke with Steve about how nostalgia never goes out of style, getting older, and why naivete is the key to success. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "If Anyone Knows 90s Fashion, It’s Steve Madden," 19 Apr. 2019 The naivete is what those like R. Kelly depend on to ultimately afflict the young girl and therefore take advantage of the situation. Morgan Jerkins, Teen Vogue, "R. Kelly and Other Powerful Men Have Always Manipulated Their Teen Fans," 9 Jan. 2019 Fear, whether out of ignorance, naivete or paranoia, forms the foundation of the IRS phone call scam. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Those threatening scam IRS phone calls? Somebody's going to jail for them," 10 July 2018

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

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for naivete

French naïveté, from Old French, inborn character, from naif

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Learn More about naivete

Dictionary Entries near naivete



naïve realism





Statistics for naivete

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for naivete

The first known use of naivete was in 1673

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More from Merriam-Webster on naivete

Nglish: Translation of naivete for Spanish Speakers

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