Weekly Word – Disingenuous

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter of the alphabet each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter D:

Meaning:

(Of a person or their behaviour):

Not totally honest, frank or sincere;  not speaking the complete truth.

Pretending to know less about something than one actually does; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous (i.e. honest, sincere and trusting, sometimes in a way that seems childlike and naive).

 Pronunciation:

dis-in-jen-yoo-uh s

Audio Link:

disingenuous

Part of Speech:

Adjective

Related Forms:

disingenuously (adverb)

disingenuousness  (noun)

Synonyms:

dishonest, deceitful, underhand, duplicitous, double-dealing, two-faced, dissembling, insincere, false, lying, untruthful, mendacious, artful, cunning, scheming, double-faced

Antonyms:

ingenuous, frank, artless, candid, open, sincere, trustworthy, upright, honourable

Word Origin

First recorded in 1645–55 dis + ingenuous

Use the Word in a Sentence (or two):

1. Having been hurt too many times by Enrico’s philandering ways, Maria had no intention of being influenced by his disingenuous compliments and attempts to win her back. She would simply smile sweetly and send him on his way.

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2. The disingenuousness of the newest recruit to their company was evident to several of the board members but, unfortunately, they had been outvoted.

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3. ‘Our new business will use only eco-friendly technology and provide employment for many of the local workforce…’ The three colleagues listened to the disingenuously delivered spiel before standing and leaving the guy to clear up his gear and see himself out.

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***

If you would like to join us in doing this weekly post, both Louise and I would be happy to see you. You can pick of your own word and illustrate its use in any way you choose (even a short story) or use your chosen word to follow a similar pattern to our posts.

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Image  from Shutterstock

17 thoughts on “Weekly Word – Disingenuous

    1. I’d say it was a good thing he didn’t understand you or you might have been looking for a new job (unless he was a nice man at heart and forgave you). Lol. Thank you for that, Peter. 😀

  1. Funny how this word feels quite common to me, but I never thought about the fact that it means *not* ingenuous, or falsely ingenuous. It seems obvious in retrospect (e.g., disagree, disaggregate, disappear), but then maybe not; after all, “disappointment” doesn’t translate to “false appointment” (or does it? now I’ve got myself worried). Anyway, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone use “ingenuous.” Interesting!

    1. Ha ha, I should have checked first! Disappoint DID come from negating an appointment. The OED says its origin is: “Late Middle English (in the sense ‘deprive of a position’): from Old French desappointer.”

      1. Where would we be without a good old dictionary? Words are funny things,:D I’d never thought of disappointment in that way, either. We live and learn, as they say. Good to chat with you again, Joy.

    2. I’ve never heard anyone actually using ingenuous, either, Joy, but I know the word does exist (cos I looked it up! :D) One of its meanings is now obsolete: noble or honourable/honorable). I also agree that most words with the prefix ‘dis’ just mean the opposite of the rest of the word.- and your thoughts about disappointment made me laugh – until I saw your comment below.

      1. It’s another example of a word whose meaning has migrated since its original origins. Language is so odd and interesting that way!

    3. I’ve never heard anyone actually using ingenuous, either, Joy, but I know the word does exist (cos I looked it up! :D) One of its meanings is now obsolete: noble or honourable/honorable). I also agree that most words with the prefix ‘dis’ just mean the opposite of the rest of the word.- and your thoughts about disappointment made me laugh – until I saw your comment below.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I have heard this one before but I don’t actively use this word. People don’t use this much in this side of the world, Millie.

  3. Thanks, Mike. We’ve had a couple of run-ins with BT reps in the past, but we’re still with BT for out internet, as are most people in this tiny village. We seemed to wait forever to have Superfast Broadband installed a few years ago.
    .

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