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; for example, they may be very trusting, not realizing that some people in the world are evil and that some situations are perilous.
The word is sometimes spelt in English without the French double dot on the letter i, "naive", due to the default settings for typing in English lacking it. It is an adjective. The noun is naïveté, but is sometimes spelt naïvety in English. It is similar in meaning to the word "innocent" and is not always a negative quality in that being naïve implies a lack of acquired prejudice.
The word naïve 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.