or in·ge·nue

[an-zhuh-noo, -nyoo; French an-zhey-ny]
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.

Origin of ingénue

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

Related Words for ingenues

babe, stooge, sucker, gull, dupe, victim, child, greenhorn, naive

Examples from the Web for ingenues

Contemporary Examples of ingenues

Historical Examples of ingenues

  • I discovered my two ingenues might have been taken from the Forest Home!

    Nat Goodwin's Book

    Nat C. Goodwin

  • I didn't know that your taste ran to ingenues to such an extent.

    The Malefactor

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

British Dictionary definitions for ingenues


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

Word Origin for ingénue

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 ingenues



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper