or na·ïve

[ nah-eev ]
See synonyms for: naivenaively on

  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.

  1. having or marked by a simple, unaffectedly direct style reflecting little or no formal training or technique: valuable naive 19th-century American portrait paintings.

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

Origin of naive

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

usage note For naive

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.

Other words for naive

Opposites for naive

Other words from naive

  • na·ive·ly, adverb
  • na·ive·ness, noun
  • un·na·ive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use naive in a sentence

  • Were I to advance the plea of youth in excuse of the naiveness to be found in these pages, he would be likely to say "Bosh!"

    Some Reminiscences | Joseph Conrad
  • The least unhappy are those who approximate the naiveness of the beasts and who never attempt what is beyond men.

  • Is it sheer naiveness or the practical point of view, I wonder?

  • She discovered a certain naiveness in herself and laughed a little.

    The Rescue | Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for naive


nave naf

/ (naɪˈiːv) /

    • having or expressing innocence and credulity; ingenuous

    • (as collective noun; preceded by the): only the naive believed him

  1. artless or unsophisticated

  1. lacking developed powers of analysis, reasoning, or criticism: a naive argument

  2. another word for primitive (def. 5)

  1. rare a person who is naive, esp in artistic style: See primitive (def. 10)

Origin of naive

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

Derived forms of naive

  • naively, navely or nafly, adverb
  • naiveness, naveness or nafness, 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