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na·ive or na·ïve  audio  (n-v, nä-) KEY  also na·if or na·ïf  (n-f, nä-) KEY 

ADJECTIVE:
  1. Lacking worldly experience and understanding, especially:
    1. Simple and guileless; artless: a child with a naive charm.
    2. Unsuspecting or credulous: "Students, often bright but naive, betand losesubstantial sums of money on sporting events" (Tim Layden).
  2. Showing or characterized by a lack of sophistication and critical judgment: "this extravagance of metaphors, with its naive bombast" (H.L. Mencken).
    1. Not previously subjected to experiments: testing naive mice.
    2. Not having previously taken or received a particular drug: persons naive to marijuana.
NOUN:
One who is artless, credulous, or uncritical.

ETYMOLOGY:
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

OTHER FORMS:
na·ively(Adverb), na·iveness(Noun)

SYNONYMS:
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.


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