Ingenious vs Ingenuous: Correct Usage with Examples

Ingenious vs Ingenuous: Correct Usage with Examples

Hello my dear reader! I’m sure that since you have been following my posts you have learned quite some things. Great! I present to you this interesting post: Ingenious vs Ingenuous: Correct Usage with Examples. We cannot say that these two words we want to examine are homophones per se as they have slightly different pronunciation; but there is strong tendency to mix up the two and this is why we want to consider this post…

Ingenious vs Ingenuous: Correct Usage with Examples

The two words belong to the same category of the Parts of Speech; and except for their different sixth letters ‘i’ and ‘u’, they would have passed for the same word; especially as they have equal number of letters that make them up, nine. But that is where the similarities end. Ingenious and Ingenuous are quite two different words! They seem related in orthography (spelling), but they are not, in semantics (meaning). What then do they mean, and how do we use them? Let us consider each word severally:

What Does ‘Ingenious’ Mean?

It is an adjective that means the following:

  • Displaying genius or brilliance; tending to invent.
  • Characterized by genius; cleverly done or contrived.
  • Witty; original; shrewd; adroit; keen; sagacious.

Examples of Sentences with Ingenious

  • The engineer came up with an ingenious solution to solve the electricity problem.
  • Here lies the body of Richard Hind, who was neither ingenious, sober, nor kind.
  • Arthur Helps posits, ‘Reading is sometimes an ingenious device for avoiding thought.’
  • Impurities, including the excess of oxygen, can then be taken out of the gas by Sir James Dewar’s ingenious method of absorption with charcoal cooled in liquid air.
  • In the 1940s, Oswald Avery was able to show, through an ingenious method, that the DNA carries genetic information.
  • The event planner was so ingenious in her arrangement of the wedding hall.
  • Great minds have produced many ingenious devices to make our lives easier.
  • Plato was, perhaps, the most ingenious philosopher mentored by Socrates.
  • He was too devious, though ingenious, and this affected his reputation.
  • Scientists and scholars have advanced ingenious theories that have revolutionised our world and shaped history.
  • Hero of Alexandria is the ingenious inventor of ‘Hero’s Fountain’.
  • William Shakespeare, Eric Blair, Nietzsche are all ingenious writers.
  • There are ingenious attempts to scheme the workers out of the largesse.
  • The photographer’s works are a display of ingenious creativity.
  • The ingenious artist’s paintings were so remarkable that he got an invite for an international exhibition.
  • Dolphins have an ingenious adaptation to cope with eating under water.
  • Many animals have developed ingenious ways of protecting themselves and their young from predators.
  • There is really no limit to the countless ingenious creativity and ideas we can develop if only we are focused.
  • Finally, they arrived at an ingenious solution to dealing with the knotty challenge.
  • She must be an ingenious cook to have come up with the delicious meal with such a little amount.

 Ingenuous: A Definition

This is also an adjective that means the following:

  • Naive and trusting.
  • Demonstrating childlike simplicity.
  • Unsophisticated; simple.
  • Unable to mask one’s feelings.
  • Straightforward, candid, open, and frank.

Examples of Sentences with Ingenuous

  • He seemed too ingenuous to be called a highflyer.
  • It would take an ingenuous and credulous individual to believe her story.
  • It was rather ingenuous for them to plan on hitchhiking through the night.
  • His uncanny disposition gave him an ingenuous and classy outlook.
  • The student gave a most ingenuous answer to the teacher’s question and incurred his wrath.
  • Children are characteristically ingenuous and therefore, need guidance in most things they do.
  • The principal decided to ask the ingenuous class captain for the details of the fracas that left some students wounded.
  • The ingenuous senator decided not to seek re-election for a second term in office.
  • The swindlers took advantage of the ingenuous stranger and duped him of his money.
  • Some seemingly ingenuous questions can sometimes confuse the specialists in the field.
  • Sometimes his ingenuous smile masks his brazen and ruthless character.
  • The twins seem identical physically but one is vivacious, witty and frolicsome while the other is ingenuous introvert.

Ingenious and Ingenuous can both be used as structural elements of the same linguistic class or group but the difference is only in their meanings. Before we conclude, let us examine some words that are related to ingenious and ingenuous.

Words Related to Ingenious and Ingenuous

These two words have some other words that are related to them; and it would be worthwhile to consider some of them. They include the following:


Ingenuity is a noun which is related to ‘ingenious’. It refers to skill, cleverness or inventive talent in devising or combining. It also refers to candour or frankness, though such use is considered archaic. Some words are synonymous with ingenuity. They include: inventiveness, cleverness, resourcefulness, imagination, originality, creativity, skill, cunning, initiative, etc. Examples of this word as used in sentences include:

  • Writing a computer code requires some ingenuity.
  • It takes a great measure of ingenuity to design and maintain a website that will rank in all known search engines.
  • Building the Atomic Bomb to end the Second World War tasked the ingenuity of the American Physicists.
  • The student displayed a great ingenuity in producing a generator that runs on kerosene.
  • At critical moments of our lives, our ingenuity and resourcefulness bails us out.


Another related word is ‘ingenuousness’. It is also a noun which has to do with showing innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness. ‘Ingenuousness’ is lacking craft or subtlety; the quality of innocent naiveté. Let us see some sentences that exemplify this word:

  • The girl’s ingenuousness, contrary to many people’s expectations, always makes way for her.
  • Sometimes, ingenuousness always leaves a lasting impression on people.
  • He unintentional hurts his wife by his brutal ingenuousness.
  • Their ingenuousness in admitting their faults helped them to work on a solution.
  • Ingenuousness maybe perceived in some quarters as a weak virtue, but it is proper to be forthright and down-to-earth.


This is adverb derivation is another word related to the two words we have earlier considered. It means ‘in an ingenuous manner; frankly, straightforwardly.’ See these examples of its usage:

  • The defendant answered the judge’s questions ingenuously
  • The children told their father ingenuously that he had been maltreating their mother.
  • It is not in all cases that one answers questions ingenuously; one should be diplomatic.
  • Children should be taught at an early age to speak ingenuously.
  • They voted for him massively because he ingenuously admitted that he would not be able to solve all their problems but would solve the two major ones.


We should be careful not to confuse this word with ‘ingenuously’. ‘Ingeniously’ is an adverb that refers to something done in a clever or resourceful manner; that is, in an ingenious manner.

  • The man ingeniously separated the mixed grains.
  • Ben Carson became globally acclaimed for ingeniously separating the conjoined twins.
  • He ingeniously cut through the thick jungle with his sharp cutlass.
  • She ingeniously and deftly wrote a code to counter the virus in 10 minutes.
  • The old chauffer ingeniously meandered the limousine through the traffic.

This is an adjective and the antonym of ‘ingenuous’. It means the following:

  • Not noble: unbecoming true honour or dignity; mean; unworthy; fake or deceptive.
  • Not ingenuous; not frank or open; uncandid; unworthily or meanly artful.
  • Assuming a pose of naiveté or naiveness to make a point or for deception.

Consider the following illustrations:

  • It would be highly disingenuous to sweep such a case under the carpet.
  • It is disingenuous for the group to claim they are fighting crime when secretly, they are aiding it.
  • The compere sounds congenial, witty and entertaining; but sometimes disingenuous with his remarks laden with innuendos.
  • It was rather disingenuous for the man to accept to be honoured for what he did not do.
  • Much more than his disingenuous offer, his generosity is questionable.

The word formation process of the two other related words below is affixation. (See Word Formation Process). There is a prefix ‘dis’ which means ‘opposite’ and an adverb-forming ‘ly’ and a noun-forming ‘ness’ suffix respectively.


This word connotes the following:

  • In a manner that is not frank or open; deceptively.
  • In a manner that is not noble; in a manner unbecoming of true honour or dignity; unworthily.
  • In a manner that adopts a pose of naiveté, possibly to make a point or to deceive.

Its synonyms include: deceitfully, deceptively, ignobly, unworthily, etc. while the antonyms include: candidly, frankly, openly, nobly, worthily, etc. Consider these examples:

  • The president disingenuously glossed over the killings in the state.
  • Politicians sometimes disingenuously promise what they cannot do just to win votes.
  • His research work was rejected on the basis that he disingenuously plagiarised.
  • The expatriates disingenuously won the contract but the security agencies discovered their subterfuge and arrested them.
  • In an attempt to be disingenuously benefit from the government’s loan, he falsified his papers and got dismissed from service.


This, as a related word, means the state or quality of being disingenuous. Consider the following:

  • He was poorly scored low for his desperation and disingenuousness.
  • The company sanctioned errant members for acts tantamount to disingenuousness.
  • The seeming disingenuousness between the warring factions is a setback for the country.
  • His shameless disingenuousness earned him an ignoble reputation.
  • Dignity and disingenuousness do not go together for a public office holder.


There are so many words in English that are similar in various respects. Some are classified as homophones, some are homonyms while others are homographs. Take advantage of this platform and check out some commonly used wrong words. There are other commonly confused words and also some words with silent letters. Do not forget to share this post and other educative ones with your friends! You can also check out the following words to see their correct usages…Supersede vs Surpass, Aural vs Oral, Affect vs Effect, Belief vs Believe, Academic vs Academia, Access, Assess, Assent & Ascent and many others! Share please. You can also send in your comments and questions! See you around!


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