naïf

1 of 2

noun

na·​ïf nä-ˈēf How to pronounce naïf (audio)
variants or naif
: a naive person

naïf

2 of 2

adjective

variants or naif
: naive

Examples of naïf in a Sentence

Adjective the senator, newly elected and still naïf, will learn soon enough how Washington really works
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Angourie Rice plays our ostensible heroine Cady Heron as more of an earnest naif. Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, 11 Jan. 2024 Reasonable readers will arrive at varied opinions about the taste of all this—the facts are the facts, and the narrative pulses with empathy, but the tone at times resembles cosmic horror, as if Ehrenfest were a Lovecraftian naif driven mad after glimpsing an Elder God. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 1 Oct. 2023 Sonny, the political naif, suddenly has mastered the procedures of the Texas House and turns them to his advantage. Shawna Seed, Dallas News, 12 Sep. 2023 Who says Merrick Garland is a political naif? The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2022 With long hair and stubble, Fletcher is grungy and sweet, a seemingly free-spirited naif who also is, when the movie requires it, a font of Lone Star wisdom. Jim Kiest, San Antonio Express-News, 8 July 2021 Fraser was everywhere in the 1990s and early 2000s: a sweetly handsome, blue-eyed lummox whose starring roles established him as a perpetual naif. Ty Burr, Washington Post, 1 Dec. 2022 As Rose Nylund, the benevolent and good-hearted naif from St. Olaf, Minn., White could generally be counted on to provide the show’s heart. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 6 Jan. 2022 Chaplin the promethean filmmaker was also his own worst enemy, a comedic and business genius, a political naif, even a poseur in certain ways, but also a man who could never escape either his childhood or his attraction to childlike women. John Anderson, WSJ, 9 Dec. 2021
Adjective
Most illustrators play up the coziness of the tale, what with children all snug in their beds dreaming of sugarplums and suchlike, but the friendly lines and marzipan colors of Ms. Beech’s naif illustrations take coziness to a new level. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2023 Colorful naif pictures by Katie Hickey and text arranged in substantial chunks make this perfect for browsing by young readers with an interest in engineering or architecture. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 12 Aug. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'naïf.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

French

First Known Use

Noun

1891, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

circa 1598, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of naïf was circa 1598

Dictionary Entries Near naïf

Cite this Entry

“Naïf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/na%C3%AFf. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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