[ in-jen-yoo-uhs ]
See synonyms for: ingenuousingenuouslyingenuousness on

  1. free from reserve, restraint, or dissimulation; candid; sincere.

  1. Obsolete. honorable or noble.

Origin of ingenuous

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Latin ingenuus “native, free-born, honorable, frank; (of studies or occupations) befitting a freeborn person, liberal,” equivalent to in- verb prefix + gen- (base of gignere “to bring into being”) + -uus adjective suffix; see in-2, ingenious, -ous

confusables note For ingenuous

See ingenious.

Other words for ingenuous

Other words from ingenuous

  • in·gen·u·ous·ly, adverb
  • in·gen·u·ous·ness, noun
  • half-in·gen·u·ous, adjective
  • half-in·gen·u·ous·ly, adverb
  • half-in·gen·u·ous·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with ingenuous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use ingenuous in a sentence

  • The disinterested historians state ingenuously that Joanna was not guilty of this crime, although the others accuse her of it.

    Frdric Mistral | Charles Alfred Downer
  • Frederick ingenuously confessed the state of his heart, and briefly recounted his interview with Ellen and the Lieutenant.

  • "It does not become me to remember or to proclaim such an incident," said the youth, blushing ingenuously.

    Quentin Durward | Sir Walter Scott
  • Annesley backed him up with one of the girlish blushes that made her seem so young and ingenuously attractive.

    The Second Latchkey | Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson
  • "That's just what I've asked you here to find out," her brother replied ingenuously.

    Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo | E. Phillips Oppenheim

British Dictionary definitions for ingenuous


/ (ɪnˈdʒɛnjʊəs) /

  1. naive, artless, or innocent

  2. candid; frank; straightforward

Origin of ingenuous

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

Derived forms of ingenuous

  • ingenuously, adverb
  • ingenuousness, noun

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