• synonyms


or in·ge·nue

[an-zhuh-noo, -nyoo; French an-zhey-ny]
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noun, plural in·gé·nues [an-zhuh-nooz, -nyooz; French an-zhey-ny] /ˈæn ʒəˌnuz, -ˌnyuz; French ɛ̃ ʒeɪˈnü/.
  1. the part of an artless, innocent, unworldly girl or young woman, especially as represented on the stage.
  2. an actress who plays such a part or specializes in playing such parts.
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Origin of ingénue

1840–50; < French, feminine of ingénu < Latin ingenuus native, inborn, etc.; see ingenuous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ingenue

Historical Examples

  • I was no longer "Diane," the ingenue whom she patronized as well as admired.

    The Bacillus of Beauty

    Harriet Stark

  • The result is extravagantly and deliciously funny—Just the Book for an Ingenue.

  • Usually, indeed, she is charming in what are called "ingenue" rles.


    Carl Van Vechten

  • It was rumored that he and the ingenue—but there, I am not supposed to tell secrets.

  • She suggested an ingenue who had been suddenly sent on in the role of the Russian adventuress.


    Richard Harding Davis

British Dictionary definitions for ingenue


  1. an artless, innocent, or inexperienced girl or young woman
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Word Origin

C19: from French, feminine of ingénu ingenuous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ingenue


1848, from French ingénue "artless girl, especially on the stage," fem. of ingénu "ingenuous, artless, simple" (13c.), from Latin ingenuus (see ingenuous). Italicized in English into 20c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper