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or ingenue

[an-zhuh-noo, -nyoo; French an-zhey-ny] /ˈæn ʒəˌnu, -ˌnyu; French ɛ̃ ʒeɪˈnü/
noun, plural ingénues
[an-zhuh-nooz, -nyooz; French an-zhey-ny] /ˈæn ʒəˌnuz, -ˌnyuz; French ɛ̃ ʒeɪˈnü/ (Show IPA)
the part of an artless, innocent, unworldly girl or young woman, especially as represented on the stage.
an actress who plays such a part or specializes in playing such parts.
Origin of ingénue
1840-50; < French, feminine of ingénu < Latin ingenuus native, inborn, etc.; see ingenuous Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ingenue
Historical Examples
  • The result is extravagantly and deliciously funny—Just the Book for an ingenue.

  • She suggested an ingenue who had been suddenly sent on in the role of the Russian adventuress.

    Vera Richard Harding Davis
  • The result is extravagantly and deliciously funny–Just the Book for an ingenue.

  • It was the part of an ingenue, which just suited Geraldine's youth and naivette.

    Pretty Geraldine, the New York Salesgirl Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller
  • I was no longer "Diane," the ingenue whom she patronized as well as admired.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • For thus did the starry happiness that glowed within the beatific bosom of the little "ingenue" make Arcady around her.

    Harlequin and Columbine Booth Tarkington
  • There, seeking asylum from the greater heat of the wings he came upon the ingenue, indulging in the luxury of exhausted tears.

    The Tyranny of Weakness Charles Neville Buck
  • Her perceptions this morning were curiously keen, and she believed that Miss Lavish had her on trial for an ingenue.

    A Room With A View E. M. Forster
  • Isabelle had walked with an artificial gait at nine and a half, and when her eyes, wide and starry, proclaimed the ingenue most.

    This Side of Paradise F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Miss Newcome wore a plain white frock on the occasion, and resumed, Madame d'Ivry said, her role of ingenue for that night.

    The Newcomes William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for ingenue


/ˌænʒeɪˈnjuː; French ɛ̃ʒeny/
an artless, innocent, or inexperienced girl or young woman
Word Origin
C19: from French, feminine of ingénuingenuous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ingenue

1848, from French ingénue "artless girl, especially on the stage," fem. of ingénu "ingenuous, artless, simple" (13c.), from Latin ingenuus (see ingenuous). Italicized in English into 20c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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