See also: ingénu


Alternative formsEdit


From the French word ingénu (meaning “guileless”), especially as used by Voltaire in L'Ingénu, originally from the Latin word ingenuus (meaning “ingenuous”)


ingenu (plural ingenus)

  1. (rare) An innocent, unsophisticated, naive, wholesome boy or young man.
    • 1946 September, McGhee, Dorothy M., “The Conte Philosphique Evolves Its Solitaire”, in PMLA, volume 61, number 3, page 752:
      Even a casual reader of the philosophic tale will have met, in the array of types on parade-an oft-repeated "naïf" (who was anything but naive), at least one famed "candide," and several "ingénus."
    • 1951 June, Elliott, Robert C., “Swift's Tale of a Tub: An Essay in Problems of Structure”, in PMLA, volume 66, number 4, page 44:
      Swift, it might be noted, has used this technique, but with "reverse English." Instead of a fine central intelligence, he has set up at the core of his work his favorite ingénu, an "I" who egregiously identifies himself with the very abuses that Swift is attacking.
    • 1961 Fall, Aden, John M., “Rasselas" and "The Vanity of Human Wishes”, in Criticism, volume 3, number 4, page 300:
      The trouble still lies, as it did in the Happy Valley, in the mental ineptitude and moral weakness of the characters. This is the target throughout the story, as mere ingénu and mere academic split time after time on the rock of reality.
    • You seem pleasant and harmless with your dark ingenu eyes and your nice Midwestern manners.
    • 1975 Summer, Lee, A. Robert, “review of Joseph Gold Charles Dickens: Radical Moralist”, in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, volume 64, number 254, page 201:
      And ... he examines ingénus like Oliver Twist and David Copperfield whose lives Dickens renders as patterns of self-growth towards moral health.
    • 1991, Test, George Austin, Satire: Spirit and Air, University Press of Florida, page 205:
      The innocent childlike nature of the Ingenu is perhaps his most obvious and charming characteristic and has been much noted. ... But actual children are rare among the Ingenus ....
    • 2003, Juan Francisco Elices Agudo, “The Role of the Ingenu in the Construction of a Postcolonial Anti-War Satire: Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy”, in Ignacio Miguel Palacios Martínez, María José López Couso, Patricia Fra López, Elena Seoane Posse, editors, Fifty Years of English Studies in Spain (1952-2002): A Commemorative Volume, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, page 565:
      For his novel, Saro-Wiwa draws on the figure of the ingenu in order to satirise the evils and pettiness of war from an apparently naïve perspective, which conceals the biting criticism that prevails throughout the narration.


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