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See also: ingénue


Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from French ingénue, the feminine form of ingénu (guileless), originally from the Latin ingenuus (ingenuous).



ingenue (plural ingenues)

  1. An innocent, unsophisticated, naïve, wholesome girl or young woman.
  2. (theater, film) A dramatic role of such a woman; an actress playing such a role.
    Hypernym: stock character
    Coordinate terms: girl next door, femme fatale, damsel in distress
    • 2012, Thomas Lisanti, Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969, McFarland (→ISBN), page 396:
      The intelligent and talented blonde who was fluent in English, French and Spanish was interested in art and joined a local theater group to work on set designs but wound up on stage playing an ingenue in Liliom and was spotted by director Vincente Minnelli.
  3. (rare) Misspelling of ingenu.
    • 1951 June 11, Ickes, Harold L., “Acheson, Political Ingenue”, in The New Republic, volume 124, number 24, page 17:
      Mr. Acheson's failure as Secretary of State ... has been an inability to understand people or to be understood by them.
    • 2002 Spring, Gonsalves, Joshua David, “What Makes Lord Byron Go? Strong Determinations-Public/Private-of Imperial Errancy”, in Studies in Romanticism, volume 41, number 1, Psychoanalytic, page 40fn:
      I cannot resist citing, slightly out of context, another bit of Baudelaire: "Satan s'est fait ingénu" (Satan has made himself into an ingenue [Oeuvres Completes 640])
    • 2006 September, McFadden, Kevin, “It's a Cue, the Name”, in Poetry, volume 188, number 5, page 417:
      America why callow ingenue bile?

Usage notes[edit]

The corresponding masculine term, ingenu, is poorly known, and so the feminine term is sometimes used in a gender-neutral or masculine way. (See the 2002 citation, where the explicit masculine French is feminized in English.)

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]




ingenue f pl

  1. feminine plural of ingenuo


ingenue f

  1. plural of ingenua





  1. vocative masculine singular of ingenuus


  • ingenue”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • ingenue”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • ingenue in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette