Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Ingenuous

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is ingenuous. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Ingenuous is most commonly used to describe someone who shows innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness.

// The ingenuous enthusiasm shown by several of the older campers was contagious, and soon everyone was excited about the project.

INGENUOUS in Context

“I remember too well being young yet adult, confident yet ingenuous. It’s like marching off to war, armed with a bubble wand.” — Margo Bartlett, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, 20 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

Ingenuous is most often used to describe someone who has a childlike innocence and openness. It should not be confused with ingenious, which typically describes someone who is unusually inventive or clever, or something made or done in an especially original or clever way. The words look very much alike, but sound different: remember that ingenuous sounds like its linguistic relation genuine, while ingenious sounds like genius—despite the fact that there is no etymological connection between those two. For more on this pair, read on.

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