The Meaning of Naive: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of naïve? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on this word’s definition and uses.

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What Does the Word Naive Mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, the word naive is an adjective that refers to someone or something lacking worldly experience or formal training. The word naive is two syllables – na-ive. The pronunciation of naive is naɪˈiːv.

Naive in a Nutshell

Someone who is naive has an unaffected simplicity of nature and a lack of wisdom. A naive person will often lack self-consciousness and have an absence of artificiality. They might also have trouble relating to other people in their age group. In addition, a naive person might have a childlike style. 

Is Naive an Insult?

The word naive often has a negative connotation. It’s usually used to demean someone and portray them as childish and overly innocent.

What Are Translations of the Word Naive?

Many different world languages contain translations of the word naive. Some of these look similar to the word in English, which may mean that the words share a common origin. This list from Word Sense is sure to help you in any situation where you need a translation of naïve.

  • Armenian: միամիտ‎, պարզամիտ‎
  • Cyrillic: наиван‎
  • Scottish Gaelic: soineannta‎
  • Roman: naivan‎
  • Hungarian: naiv‎
  • Bulgarian: наивен‎
  • Arabic: سَاذَج‎ (masc.), سَاذَجَة‎ (fem.)
  • Norwegian: naiv‎, godtroende‎
  • German: unbefangen‎, naiv‎, blauäugig‎
  • Finnish: naiivi‎
  • Italian: ingenuo‎
  • Danish: naiv‎, enfoldig‎
  • Spanish: cándido‎, ingenuo‎
  • Ido: naiva‎
  • Russian: наи́вный‎
  • Latin: credulus‎, simplex‎
  • Georgian: გულუბრყვილო‎, მიამიტი‎
  • Catalan: ingenu‎ (masc.), càndid‎ (masc.)
  • Persian: ساده لوح‎ (sâde-lowh), خام‎ (xâm), ببو‎ (babu)
  • Polish: naiwny‎
  • Esperanto: naiva‎
  • Greek: αφελής‎ (masc.) (f)
  • Yiddish: תּמימותדיק‎ (temimesdik)
  • Swedish: naiv‎, blåögd‎, oskyldig‎
  • Vietnamese: ngờ nghệch, khờ dại, ngây thơ
  • Czech: naivní‎
  • French: naïf‎ (masc.), naïve‎ (fem.)
  • Portuguese: ingênuo‎
  • Macedonian: наивен‎ (naiven)
  • Turkish: saf‎, naif‎
  • Luxembourgish: naiv‎
  • Maori: tūpatokore‎
  • Galician: inxenuo‎
  • Lao: ໄຮ້ດຽງສາ‎
  • Japanese: 無邪気‎ (mujaki), あどけない‎ (adokenai)
  • Korean: 순진한‎, 우직한‎, 박직한‎
  • Hebrew: נָאִיבִי‎ (na’ívi), תָּמִים‎ (tamím)
  • Dutch: naïef‎, tegen beter weten in
  • Gulf Arabic: صيدة‎ (9e:də)
  • Cornish: anfel‎
  • Indonesian: naif‎

What Is the Etymology of the Word Naive?

Merriam-Webster states that the word naive has been used since the year 1614 in English. The word comes from the French naïve, which is the feminine form of the French naïf.

This French word comes from the Old French naif, a word meaning inborn or natural. Naif stems from nātus and the Latin nātīvus, with roots in the past participle of nāscī. The Latin nasci has Indo-European roots. 

The word naive also inspired other parts of speech, including the noun naivety – naïveté, the adverb naively, and the superlatives naiver and naivest.

How Can the Word Naive Be Used in a Sentence?

The word naive can be used in a wide variety of circumstances in the English language. Take a look at the example sentences below to get a better sense of the use cases of this versatile word.

It was with a naive spirit and wide friendly eyes that she visited Disney with great enjoyment for the New Year.

The pandemic experts made a remark about the peculiar naive manner in which people behaved at the capitol riot. Such is the nature of politics.

There was a naive sort of elation to the business deal, unfortunately for the boss. He thought his underling would have had a better sense of critical judgment on different variables.

The naive subject of a scientific experiment sacrificed their body for advancements in the near future. Their immature attitude got them killed.

Grandma Moses asked many naive questions about things of paramount importance at the bizarre ceremony.

The Princeton University student had a naive view of the world.

Teenagers’ naive ignorance showed a lack of judgment and a lack of sophistication.

The onlookers compared American portrait paintings to primitive art with naive, uninitiated Western eyes.

The Italian Medicines Agency and European Medical Agency scolded the manufacturers of the biological drug. The medication was pushed on naïve patients as a valid therapeutic option. However, the prescribers did not consider the necessary previous exposure to form immune complexes due to the pharmacodynamics of a given drug.

Mendelssohn behaved in a peculiar, naive manner.

What Are Synonyms of the Word Naive?

If you are looking for a word that is similar to naive but that has a different connotation, take a look at these synonyms. Power Thesaurus lists numerous different synonyms used in place of the word naive.

Using synonyms is an excellent way to avoid overusing one particular word. It can also be a tactic for expanding your vocabulary or spicing up your writing. How many of these synonyms for the word naive do you already know? How many of them are new to you? Try using one of these synonyms in a sentence today!

  • Artless
  • Callow
  • Candid
  • Childish
  • Childlike
  • Confiding
  • Credulous
  • Dewy-Eyed
  • Dupable
  • Easy
  • Exploitable
  • Frank
  • Fresh
  • Green
  • Guileless
  • Gullible
  • Ignorant
  • Immature
  • Inexperienced
  • Ingenuous
  • Innocent
  • Jejune
  • Naif
  • Natural
  • Plain
  • Primitive
  • Simple
  • Simple-Minded
  • Sincere
  • Susceptible
  • Trusting
  • Unaffected
  • Unenlightened
  • Uninitiated
  • Uninstructed
  • Unschooled
  • Unsophisticated
  • Unsuspecting
  • Unsuspicious
  • Unwary
  • Unworldly
  • Wet Behind the Ears
  • Wide-Eyed

What Are Antonyms of the Word Naive?

There are also plenty of words with the opposite meaning of the word naive, which are called antonyms. Take a look at this list of antonyms of the word naive from Power Thesaurus and see how many you know.

  • Artful
  • Canny
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Critical
  • Cynical
  • Doubting
  • Experienced
  • Hardheaded
  • Intelligent
  • Knowledgeable
  • Leery
  • Mistrustful
  • Shrewd
  • Skeptical
  • Sly
  • Smart
  • Sophisticated
  • Streetwise
  • Suspicious
  • Wary
  • Wise
  • Worldly


The word naive means having a lack of knowledge, guile, or experience. Many things can be naive, including a naive assumption, a naive person, or a naive idea.


  1. Naive: meaning, origin, translation | WordSense Dictionary 
  2. Naive Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster 
  3. Naive synonyms – 1 081 Words and Phrases for Naive | Power Thesaurus 
  4.  Naive definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  5. Naive antonyms – 686 Opposites of Naive | Power Thesaurus