na·ive or na·ïve (n-v, nä-) KEY also na·if or na·ïf (n-f, nä-) KEY
French naïve, feminine of naïf, from Old French naif, natural, native, from Latin ntvus, native, rustic, from ntus, past participle of nsc, to be born; see gen- in Indo-European roots
naive, simple, ingenuous, unsophisticated, natural, unaffected, guileless, artless
These adjectives mean free from guile, cunning, or sham. Naive sometimes connotes a credulity that impedes effective functioning in a practical world: "this naive simple creature, with his straightforward and friendly eyes so eager to believe appearances" (Arnold Bennett). Simple stresses absence of complexity, artifice, pretentiousness, or dissimulation: "Those of highest worth and breeding are most simple in manner and attire" (Francis Parkman). "Among simple people she had the reputation of being a prodigy of information" (Harriet Beecher Stowe). Ingenuous denotes childlike directness, simplicity, and innocence; it connotes an inability to mask one's feelings: an ingenuous admission of responsibility. Unsophisticated indicates absence of worldliness: the astonishment of unsophisticated tourists at the tall buildings. Natural stresses spontaneity that is the result of freedom from self-consciousness or inhibitions: "When Kavanagh was present, Alice was happy, but embarrassed; Cecelia, joyous and natural" (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). Unaffected implies sincerity and lack of affectation: "With men he can be rational and unaffected, but when he has ladies to please, every feature works" (Jane Austen). Guileless signifies absence of insidious or treacherous cunning: a guileless, disarming look. Artless stresses absence of plan or purpose and suggests unconcern for or lack of awareness of the reaction produced in others: a child of artless grace and simple goodness.