OTHER WORDS FOR ingenuous
Origin of ingenuous
words often confused with ingenuous
OTHER WORDS FROM ingenuous
Words nearby ingenuous
INGENUOUS VS. INGENIOUS
What’s the difference between ingenuous and ingenious?
Ingenious means clever or cleverly inventive or resourceful. Ingenuous means sincere or, perhaps more commonly, naive or innocent.
Careful: ingenious sounds like genius (the two are often used in the same contexts and even come from the same root) but it’s not spelled ingenius.
Ingenious is most often used in the context of ideas, inventions, and solutions considered clever for their inventiveness and resourcefulness. The related noun ingenuity refers to the quality of being ingenious—cleverness or inventiveness.
Ingenuous, on the other hand, is most commonly used to describe people—typically people considered naive or overly trusting, especially due to a lack of real-world experience. The related noun ingénue refers to a young, inexperienced person.
The adjective disingenuous is more commonly used than ingenuous and means insincere or falsely ingenuous—someone who’s described as disingenuous might be faking naiveté.
Once upon a time, ingenious was used to mean ingenuous, but this is no longer the case.
To remember the difference, remember that ingenious sounds like genius and is used in similar contexts—an ingenious idea might also be described as a genius idea. Just don’t forget the -ous ending in ingenious.
The middle of ingenuous sounds like the beginning of genuine, and an ingenuous person is usually a genuine one—nothing about them is insincere or intended to hide who they really are.
Here’s an example of ingenuous and ingenious used correctly in a sentence.
Example: The ingenuous inventor signed away the rights to his ingenious new creation without realizing it.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between ingenuous and ingenious.
Quiz yourself on ingenuous vs. ingenious!
Should ingenuous or ingenious be used in the following sentence?
The design is truly _____—I’ve never seen anything like it.
How to use ingenuous in a sentence
Netanyahu, and even some ingenuous pundits, are bragging about how Israel and America have never been closer.Obama's Biggest Opportunity Yet|Bernard Avishai|November 23, 2012|DAILY BEAST
During the ingenuous apologia pro vita sua Miss Anne regarded him with her honest candour.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
This was the most perfect specimen of the bluff, hearty, breezy, almost ingenuous Westerner that Gwynne had encountered.Ancestors|Gertrude Atherton
"I know you wouldn't wish me to affect an interest I do not feel," said Haggard with an ingenuous smile.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume III (of 3)|Charles James Wills
His replies were perfectly ingenuous, evincing nothing of the natural taciturnity and shyness of the Indian mind.The Indian in his Wigwam|Henry R. Schoolcraft
Her piety was not free from puerile pleasures; for everything, even religion, was poetry to her ingenuous heart.Honorine|Honore de Balzac