View synonyms for naive


or na·ïve

[ nah-eev ]


  1. having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous:

    She's so naive she believes everything she reads.

    He has a very naive attitude toward politics.

  2. having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absence of artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenuous.

    Synonyms: plain, open, candid, guileless, artless, unaffected, simple

    Antonyms: artful, sophisticated

  3. having or marked by a simple, unaffectedly direct style reflecting little or no formal training or technique:

    valuable naive 19th-century American portrait paintings.

  4. not having previously been the subject of a scientific experiment, as an animal.


/ naɪˈiːv /


    1. having or expressing innocence and credulity; ingenuous
    2. ( as collective noun; preceded by the )

      only the naive believed him

  1. artless or unsophisticated
  2. lacking developed powers of analysis, reasoning, or criticism

    a naive argument

  3. another word for primitive


  1. rare.
    a person who is naive, esp in artistic style See primitive

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Usage Note

This word is spelled with a dieresis over the i (ï) in French, indicating that it is a separate vowel sound. Many people retain this spelling when writing in English.

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Derived Forms

  • naˈiveness, noun
  • naˈively, adverb

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Other Words From

  • na·ive·ly adverb
  • na·ive·ness noun
  • un·na·ive adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of naive1

First recorded in 1645–55; from French, feminine of naïf, Old French naif “natural, instinctive,” from Latin nātīvus native

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Word History and Origins

Origin of naive1

C17: from French, feminine of naïf, from Old French naif native, spontaneous, from Latin nātīvus native , from nasci to be born

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Example Sentences

Meanwhile, some pandemic experts say that presuming a return to normal public life, critical to Disney, would be naive anytime in the near future.

We’re not naive to think that a business deal can’t blow up.

It would be naive to think a robust sports schedule would have prevented the Capitol riot.

It was always optimistic, boarding on the naive, to think a new year would immediately wash away the problems of 2020.

From Digiday

In many ways and for many years, Viking scholars have been naive and simplistic about their acknowledgement and recognition of gender variation in the later Iron Age.

From Time

I was naive enough to assume that he would, at most, rob me.

Artists now consider the Ideal Palace a piece of “naive” or “outsider” art.

She tackles weighty subjects with a naive sensibility and faux-innocence, but skillfully avoids dumbing them down.

I was definitely naive, I think the main similarity between me and Hal is that we were naive.

Maybe you can call it naive but that's the way Shae simply is.

And Jansoulet felt the delight of a child, a plebeian joy, compounded of ignorance and naive vanity.

There was a naturalness in his enjoyment which was almost boylike; a naive sort of exultation possessed him.

Buzonniere, Rochfort and Fangouse are milder and more naive in their demonstrations and their works are of no weight or interest.

A remark which Mendelssohn once made in his peculiar naive manner is very characteristic of him and his opinion of Chopin.

But he got the impression that she was almost fantastically naive.