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Naïve (pronounce: "na-EEV") is a French word which is used in English to mean that someone is very simple and does not understand about the dangers around them. Someone who is naïve does not have enough experience of life to know about things he or she ought to know. Very often they may be very trusting, not realizing that some people in the world are evil.

The word is sometimes spelt in English without the French double dot on the letter i: "naive". It is an adjective. The noun is naiveté, but is sometimes spelt naïvety in English. It is similar in meaning to the word "innocent", but it is always bad to be naive (because it is dangerous), whereas it can be nice to be innocent like a child, because then there are no worries.

The word naive is used in other special ways in the arts and sciences. It often means "lack of experience", but it does not necessarily mean it in a critical way.

  • Naïve art is art which is created by people who have not been trained as artists.
  • Naïve realism is the way that most people see and understand the world.
  • In ecology it can mean animals that have not learned to be afraid of other animals that might attack and eat them.

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