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See more synonyms for ingenuous on Thesaurus.com
  1. free from reserve, restraint, or dissimulation; candid; sincere.
  2. artless; innocent; naive.
  3. Obsolete. honorable or noble.
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Origin of ingenuous

1590–1600; < Latin ingenuus native, free-born, honorable, frank, equivalent to in- in-2 + gen- (base of gignere; see ingenious) + -uus deverbal adj. suffix; see -ous
Related formsin·gen·u·ous·ly, adverbin·gen·u·ous·ness, nounhalf-in·gen·u·ous, adjectivehalf-in·gen·u·ous·ly, adverbhalf-in·gen·u·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedingenious ingenuous (see usage note at ingenious)


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Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ingenuously

Historical Examples

  • "The truth is, I don't know where to put them," ingenuously acknowledged Hurst.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • By what I have ingenuously told you, you may see who began this corruption.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Then, convincingly and ingenuously, I knew you loved me the moment we first met.

    The Fifth String  

    John Philip Sousa

  • "To thank you for all your kindness to her," replied the lad, ingenuously.


    Effie Afton

  • "I fear so," answered Bertha, ingenuously, and yet blushing deeply.

    Fairy Fingers

    Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie

British Dictionary definitions for ingenuously


  1. naive, artless, or innocent
  2. candid; frank; straightforward
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Derived Formsingenuously, adverbingenuousness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin ingenuus freeborn, worthy of a freeman, virtuous, from in- ² + -genuus, from gignere to beget
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 ingenuously



1590s, "noble in nature," from Latin ingenuus "with the virtues of freeborn people, of noble character, frank, upright, candid," originally "native, freeborn," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + gen-, root of gignere "beget, produce" (see genus). Sense of "artless, innocent" is 1670s, via evolution from "high-minded" to "honorably open, straightforward," to "innocently frank." Related: Ingenuously; ingenuousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper