Ingenuine Isn’t a Word?

Whiskey tango foxtrot. I’ve been using ‘ingenuine’ for years. I’ve apparently used it nine times on this site. And yesterday my spell checker indicated that it wasn’t a word. Poppycock! I checked Nope. I checked Merriam-Webster. Nada. I even visited the bookshelf and checked my massive (steady, steady) OED. No joy.

Clearly I’m a buffoon. What is the appropriate antonym to ‘genuine’? Ungenuine? Agenuine? Nongenuine? No such version of ‘genuine’ exists. This antonym finder suggests ‘insincere’.

Google has a mere 19,100 mentions of the non-word. Just me and 19,000 other illiterates, I imagine.

What other words do I use that don’t actually exist? Bogosity (thank you, Joe)? Awesomeified? Automagical? The list goes on.


  1. Bernie: Yeah, I mean the other meaning of genuine, as ‘truthful’.

    Gar: I thought of that, but I think it means something else:

    ingenuous adj
    1. innocent and unworldly: showing innocence and a lack of worldly experience
    2. seeming honest: appearing honest and direct

  2. I thought the antonym was disingenuous. But maybe it’s just ingenuous, as per commenter #2. Gah! Apparently I’m illiterate too.

  3. It’s all about perseverance. Use the word enough and you’ll get others using it. Get enough others using it and poof, it becomes a word. Magic.

  4. Pardon my edit:

    “The Morrissey is that rarest of establishments–an Irish bar outside of Ireland that isn’t brutally tacky and fake.”

  5. I’m with Todd on this one. New words are created all the time and if enough people use it, it becomes the norm. The internet has simply accelerated this process.

    And for the record, I’d counter a genuine person with a “dishonest” person… or even just “a fake.”

  6. Unrelated to the above post, I noticed that you have a Twitter widget on your blog, with the message “Working on a Twitter related project”, and I can’t figure out if you really are working on the project, or if you are simply being ironic.

  7. Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive. Your word “exists” if it appears 19,100 times online. It should be in the next edition.

  8. i’m a fan of “not genuine” myself. sure, it’s two words, but it means what you want it too!

    still, i like the way the non-word “ingenuine” sounds out loud, though. there’s something about those repeating n sounds that is great.

  9. i use disingenuous myself. Hm, I wonder how come I’ve never noticed you using “ingenuine” because I would have spoken up 🙂

  10. It tends to make me think of “ingenious”
    Etymology: Middle English ingenyous, from Middle French ingenieus, from Latin ingeniosus, from ingenium natural capacity
    1 obsolete : showing or calling for intelligence, aptitude, or discernment
    2 : marked by especial aptitude at discovering, inventing, or contriving
    3 : marked by originality, resourcefulness, and cleverness in conception or execution

    or “ingenue”
    Etymology: French ingénue, feminine of ingénu ingenuous, from Latin ingenuus
    1 : a naive girl or young woman
    2 : the stage role of an ingenue; also : an actress playing such a role

    But the word you are looking for is “fake” or “false”. Very old words. Or you could go with “phony”, “deceptive”, “fraudulent”, “counterfeit”, “insincere”, and “hypocritical”.

    I was going to say “imaginary” or “fanciful”, but that doesn’t seem to be how you are using it.

  11. Darren,

    I found your blog here because of this problem (the ingenuine problem that is). I was writing a post for a new blog I started (it’s a long story)and used the word ingenuine. When I realized that it was not actually a word, I started looking for other words that I could use. Someone told me the “internet” is a good source for this sort of thing. Sure enough, I found you! Thanks for calling attention to this much needed addition to the dictionary!

    Hope to make your acquaintance!


    P.S. it may be naive, but that is the first time I have seen the “whisky tango foxtrot” application!! very clever!

  12. Surely if we all rallied together to become some sort of cyber angry mob we could create the motion required to have it inducted into the next edition of Websters.

    And why stop there?

    “Ingenuine” Square on Hollywood Boulevard anyone?

  13. Damn. There I was, writing a fluffy answer to a silly required bit of coursework, hoping to sound mildly articulate when I almost used a word that only exists in the dreams of 19,000 other people. Thank you for helping me save face, Darren. And please, don’t take my gratitude as ingenuine.

  14. The (non)word disingenuous reminds me too much of irregardless. I want to metaphorically punch people in the face for using that one.

  15. Well languages are one of those things that’s currently changing…so the fact that you and 19000 other people online use the word, suggests something 😛 Plus it sounds right! Now we just need a famous author to use the word so a dictionary can use the reference XD

  16. Damn!! I just googled Ingenuine due to a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t truly a word, as even in the text message that it was to be placed in, I’m anal enough to care… Oh well, at least I got a laugh out of learning that I too, have been using a non-word for many many years. Thanks Darren!

  17. Lolwut?
    You are the language user. *You* define and spread your language. Words do not ‘exist’.

  18. facepalm.jpg at most of the people above.
    But seriously, masturbating over words is retarded. Learn a couple more unrelated languages, like Russian and Japanese and go chat in *chans 4 sum taim. This will enlighten you A LOT. Khxbye.

  19. Due to my humble knowledge of the great language of Shakespeare, I am unaware of the meaning of the word ‘buffoon’ which noone apparently uses on teh Internets. But clearly, you are sire a prude for even raising a question as mundane as usage of a word absent in ‘dictionaries’ and paper books, that are mostly read for the purpose of entertainment these days 🙂

  20. I block Ashley’s metaphorical punch for my use of a perfectly existent word like disingenuous, which any search of or google will show has multiple sensible entries. A disingenuous person lacks candor, lies and dissembles.

    But I admit that I found this page while looking for an antonym for ‘genuine,’ other than, ‘not genuine.’ Not-genuine sounds so anticlimactic. “I thought this was a genuine Rembrandt, but it turns out it’s…not genuine!” 🙂 Some philosophers have been using nongenuine, I notice, so maybe it’ll catch on as a word.

  21. It would seem that ingenuous is a similar word to genuine, except that ingenuous only applies to people and not things.

    The opposite of ingenous is disingenous.

    The opposite of genuine with regard to objects is probably counterfeit.

    The opposite of genuine with regard to people can be seen as disingenous also, since that’s really the closest we have.

    One could argue that if language was more scientific, genuine would only apply to things and ingenuous would only apply to people. But as others have said, language is a fluid thing. Ingenuine could well prove to be the way forward.

  22. I’m using it. Synonyms are not all the same. Word have cultural connotations, even if sometimes it’s culture of one. Sod the dictionary & the spelling police. If they can stick effing new teenage slangs in the dictionaries they can certainly accommodate us.

  23. I’m aghast. Maybe ‘aghast’ isn’t even a word.
    How can this invaluable word not be a word when 75% of the words in the dictionary are unknown to the layman, yet a ten-year old would understand ‘ingenuine’

  24. Maybe Ashley mistook ingenuous to mean “ingenuine”?

    Is it just me, or does ingenuous not necessarily “unpretentious”? Genuine also means unpretentious, right?

  25. Hi Darren,

    I think it should be a word. I only just found it wasnt when I used it in the office and it caused a big stir! Im going to use it every opportunity I get now!! One day we will get it there!
    Keep fighting :o)

    1. lol… i believe the word you’re looking for (the antonym to genuine) is ‘disingenuous’.

  26. I’m totally with you. I just experienced the same thing – the little red underline that leads to the Google search that leads to the realization that the ‘word’ you always took to mean the opposite of ‘honest’ is not even officially recognized. Even my 50-year-old dictionary doesn’t have it. I feel like I’ve been lied to my whole life. Talk about ingenuine.

  27. So, I was just trying to figure out what the antonym for genuine is…and I stumbled upon this blog. I feel like I’ve heard “ingenuine” said, but somehow I was a little iffy, so I looked up genuine, then the antonyms, and my doubt was confirmed… ingenuine, not even an ungenuine. None of genuine’s antonyms sound as good or make as much sense as ingenuine. Can we make this a real word? And I like your phonetic alphabet use. Very funny.

  28. Let the persistence begin!

    I’m using ingenuine in the paper I’m writing… Spell check can suck it

    Now how exactly are we pronouncing this?

    [in jen-yoo-in] ?? I was pronouncing it my head differently, but I’ve said it in my head so many times I can’t tell the difference anymore

    [in-jen-yoo-wyn]? lol I can’t think straight anymore

  29. I too came across this blog looking for the word “ingenuine” while doing a piece of writing. I think I may just use the word though, as it conveys what I want to say!

  30. Fundamentally, words are just devices to convey ideas and meaning, and to the extent that people understand what you mean when you say it, it is a word. I have been using “ingenuine” lately, always underlined by spell check. I’m going to keep using it too, because it obviously conveys meaning. Together we will make it a word!

  31. I stumbled across this entry when googled “ingenuine” becuase my spll check informed me it was not a word.

    “The hell you say!” I replied. Certainly ingenuine is a word!
    Well, at the very leat, it hasn’t been cannonized as such, but I agree with the others who say poppycock! If it isn’t a word it should be, and I will continue to treat it as such!

    To those who keep blurting out that the proper antonym here is “disingenuous”, I encourage you to actually look that word up. To be disingenuous is not merely to lack sincerity–it’s to purposefully mask the truth while pretending to be forthcoming. A lack of sincerity isn’t necessarily calculating. When you ask how I’m doing and I respond, “Fine”, even if I’m not fine, that’s not a sincere response. But I’m not trying to pull one over on you; I’m just adhering to social mores that require I keep my answer short and sweet. So my answer’s not disingenuous–and it isn’t genuine.

    And so, we plod on. Consider me an ally in your plight to add “ingenuine” to a list of usable neologisms!

  32. I have to comment on the remarks about “ingenuineness;” I had a similar experience – I have been using this word for a while and decided to research it today only to discover that it is seemingly not a word. Although, I should point out that I used Google search and found a Web definition which goes “Web definitions for ingenuine
    false, not genuine or authentic.” However, my further research proved that I have created this word.

  33. I typed ingenuine into the address bar of Firefox and it came directly to this site.:^)

    Yeah, I can’t believe it’s not an actual word.

    Let’s just go ahead and add it. That’s how all the other words got made anyway.:^)

  34. how about:

    disingenuous |ˌdisinˈjenyoōəs|
    not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

  35. I was working on my own novel when I realized that the spell check on the writing program I’m using has placed a small red line under the word “ingenuine” (much like it is right now). At first I thought maybe I had accidentally spelled it wrong, but then I realized that this was the only way I could think of spelling it. This thought made me go, “Huh?” like a total idiot. Have I not heard this word spoken aloud before? Yes, I could have sworn so. But I decided to try and check it out anyway, just in case I was indeed wrong. I typed “ingenuine” into my search engine, and voila! It took me straight to this site. Now, I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to use this word no matter what my stupid spell checker says. I like the sound of the word, I think it perfectly conveys what it is I’m trying to say, and I personally have a grudge against spell checker anyway. Besides, look at all the other ridiculous words that have been added to the dictionary. Did you know that they added E.V.O.O. to the dictionary? A source once told me so. Guess what it means: Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Now, why on earth would they put an abbreviation to that particular food product in a dictionary? Drivel. It’s all drivel I tell ya.

  36. Don’t feel bad at all, I use “ingenuine” all the time too. That’s how I found your website.

    I have discovered that “disingenuous” is meant to be the antonym of genuine, but I don’t buy it. It doesn’t seem like it exactly fits.

    The free online dictionary lists it like this:


    lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere: Her excuse was rather disingenuous.

    I think this word is too broad. I’m with Todd Sieling “It’s all about perseverance.” I will continue using “ingenuine” and hope some day it’s not only on, but in Oxford too.

  37. I’m with Dan: “Inauthentic”.

    “Disingenuous” relates to a lack of sincerity rather than authenticity and, as such, isn’t an exact antonym to “genuine”.

  38. I must say I’m heartened that this is even a discussion.

    I just heard the word out of the mouth of a bachelorette while watching E, and cringed. I cringe to admit I was watching that. I knew instantly the word she meant to use was disingenuous. If that tells you anything about my age, it should. If you don’t know how to properly use a big word, don’t use a big word. You only make yourself look stupid. Like saying irregardless when you mean regardless.

    Then, I started to doubt myself. Is it a word? Then I found your blog and discussion. Then I started to deeply think about the language.

    This is nothing more than anthropology. This is called living language. There are plenty of dead peoples and dead languages too.

    I’m quite sure that Shakespeare would have thought Jan Austen took too many liberties with the English language. It’s all a matter of history and progress.

    Go forward youth! Make the new language. But please use caution.

    That being said: Please stop confusing supposedly for supposably.

    And for sure, the word FLAMMABLE on the side of a truck you don’t want to run into used to say inflammable. Inflammable meant it would catch on fire in a big ball of flames. As in able to me inflamed; therefore engulfed in flames. Then really stupid people though it meant it wouldn’t catch fire so they changed it.

    The best changers of the language are the people who respect and follow the rules first, then break them. Like Tom Wolfe. The new journalism master. He knew and adhered to the style book of the New York Times, then once he was respected and published, broke all the rules with “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”.

  39. If you read this – you are going to read the most profound answer – that is IF you are truly “switched on”, ie. with an internationalist’s mind.
    English is becoming my second language… French is not my first… HOWEVER, do you know ‘ingénue’ en Française!? IF you do, well, I give you thumbs up and as one of the world’s best guessers, guessing YOU HAVE made the mistake from INTELLIGENCE! You have simply, subconsciously projected ingénue (as it’s a FANTASTIC word) onto ingenious. You’ve got a lot of people saying a lot of (maybe kinda) interesting, half arsed intellectual things, but it takes this great contra-anarcho-fascist-AutoRenaissance man, me, for the definitive answer/s. And if I’m wrong – brilliance like this don’t cum without such extremes of audacity so I need not your forgiveness. Nuff said… Except, oh shit, you simply shove a prefix where you see fit? Well, let’s hope I go to my grave being as generous as I was, and still with hope that there be more truly brilliant people, instead of not!
    PS. yes, despite shitting on people as a way to further intelligence, (debate – the only way to move forward) – I am a true Ingénue in most other ways.

  40. PEOPLE words like most al other things are created and spell checkers were created and so were words we use today yesterday and tomorrow and by yesterday I don’t mean literally yesterday or tomorrow I mean past present and future.words were created in the past and are being created today and there will still be more creations going on after all of you who have posted here are long dead now to be perfectly clear I’m going to lay this out one more time things were created by us by nature and by some unexplainable forces out there somewhere now the word sounds perfectly fine to me and I like it if you don’t like it don’t POST ANOTHER STUPID COMMENT here we are humans just like those who have lived before us and we have every bit of right they had to create our own things,words,places and so on now I hope I made myself clear thank and have a good nigh…..

  41. American English is a colloquially driven language. This means that there is no authority to which to turn for the meaning spelling pronunciation, existence etc., of any word. Dictionaries are merely the efforts of lexicographers to keep pace with common usage.

    ERGO; no one can tell you that ingenuine is not a word. The only thing they can do is not use it.
    Shizzam and fhashizzlemadrizzle~!!

  42. omg! can’t picture how rapidly time pass, following August, ber months time already and Setempber may be the 1st Christmas season in my place, I actually really like it!

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