ingenuous (adj.) Look up ingenuous at
1590s, "noble in nature, high-minded; honorably straightforward," from Latin ingenuus "with the virtues of freeborn people, of noble character, frank, upright, candid," originally "native, freeborn," literally "born in (a place)," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + PIE *gen(e)-wo-, suffixed form of root gene- "to give birth, beget, produce" (see genus). Sense of "artless, innocent" is 1670s, via evolution from "honorably open, straightforward," to "innocently frank." Related: Ingenuously; ingenuousness.