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Disingenuous vs. Ingenuine: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on October 30, 2023
Disingenuous means not sincere or candid, often pretending to know less than one does. Ingenuine is not commonly used, but means not genuine or authentic.

Key Differences

Disingenuous is a term often used to describe someone who isn't being completely honest or sincere, especially when they pretend to know less than they really do. On the other hand, Ingenuine isn't a standard term in modern English, but when used, it typically denotes something that isn't genuine or authentic.
While Disingenuous has its roots in Latin, its usage in English has become more prevalent, especially in contexts where one wishes to convey a lack of sincerity or candidness. Ingenuine, however, is rarely encountered, and its use can sometimes lead to confusion given that its meaning overlaps with "disingenuous" and "ungenuine."
It's important to note that Disingenuous is the more accepted and recognized term in dictionaries and written works. Ingenuine, though understood in its intended context, might not be recognized by all and is often considered a nonstandard variant.
One could argue that the prefix "dis-" in Disingenuous provides a clear negative connotation, suggesting the lack of genuineness. Ingenuine's prefix "in-" also suggests negativity, but its overall usage and recognition are considerably less compared to Disingenuous.

Comparison Chart


Not being sincere or candid.
Not genuine or authentic.

Common Usage

Frequently used in English.
Rarely used, considered nonstandard.


Uses "dis-" as a negation.
Uses "in-" as a negation.

Recognition in Dictionaries

Recognized and well-defined.
Often not recognized or defined.

Context of Use

Used to denote insincerity.
Used to indicate lack of authenticity.

Disingenuous and Ingenuine Definitions


Lacking in sincerity or candidness.
His response was seen as disingenuous by many.


Not sincere; not honest.
Her ingenuine compliment was easy to spot.


Pretending to be unaware or ignorant.
She played disingenuous, feigning surprise at the news.


Lacking authenticity or genuineness.
The signature on the document seemed ingenuine.


Falsely appearing to be honest or sincere.
His disingenuous apology didn't convince anyone.


A nonstandard term to denote untruthfulness.
His ingenuine demeanor was off-putting.


Not truly honest or sincere, giving a false appearance of simple frankness.
It was disingenuous of him to claim he had no knowledge of the incident.


Not straightforward or candid.
The ingenuine testimony raised many doubts.


Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating
“Increasingly, the question of immigration has become a disingenuous stalking-horse for race and racial hostility” (Tyler Stovall).


Falsely or hypocritically ingenuous.
The actor's ingenuine tears didn't move the audience.


Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf.


False, not genuine or authentic.


Usage Problem Unaware or uninformed; naive.


Not honourable; unworthy of honour


Not ingenuous; not frank or open


Assuming a pose of naïveté to make a point or for deception.


Not noble; unbecoming true honor or dignity; mean; unworthy; as, disingenuous conduct or schemes.


Not ingenuous; wanting in noble candor or frankness; not frank or open; uncandid; unworthily or meanly artful.
So disingenuous as not to confess them [faults].


Not straightforward or candid; giving a false appearance of frankness;
An ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, who...exemplified...the most disagreeable traits of his time
A disingenuous excuse


Not straightforward or forthright.
The politician's disingenuous remarks drew criticism.


Which is more commonly used: Disingenuous or Ingenuine?

Disingenuous is more commonly used in modern English.

Are there other words similar to Disingenuous?

Yes, words like insincere, deceitful, and false can convey similar meanings.

Is Ingenuine a standard English word?

Ingenuine is not a standard term in modern English and is rarely used.

Is Ingenuine the opposite of genuine?

While it suggests a lack of genuineness, "ungenuine" or "not genuine" are more standard ways to convey the opposite of genuine.

Why might someone be Disingenuous?

Reasons vary, from wanting to deceive, avoid confrontation, to manipulating a situation to their advantage.

How can I use Ingenuine in a sentence?

While it's rarely used, you might say, "The artwork appeared ingenuine to the expert."

What does Disingenuous mean?

Disingenuous means not being sincere or candid, often pretending to know less than one does.

Can Disingenuous and Ingenuine be used interchangeably?

While both suggest a lack of sincerity or authenticity, Disingenuous is more recognized and its meaning is more specific.

How can I identify if someone is being Disingenuous?

It's about context and perception; if someone appears to be not sincere or is pretending to be unaware, they might be disingenuous.

Is Disingenuous a negative term?

Yes, it generally has a negative connotation as it implies a lack of sincerity.

Can a statement be Disingenuous?

Yes, statements can be disingenuous if they're not sincere or straightforward.

Is Disingenuous always about lying?

Not necessarily. Someone might be disingenuous by omitting information or pretending to be ignorant.

How can I spot Ingenuine products?

Look for signs of authenticity, like brand certifications, quality of materials, and trustworthy sellers.

Can objects be described as Ingenuine?

Yes, though rarely used, objects can be described as ingenuine if they lack authenticity.

How is Disingenuous different from dishonest?

While both suggest untruthfulness, disingenuous often implies pretending to be unaware or naive, whereas dishonest directly implies lying or deceiving.

How does Disingenuous relate to genuine?

Disingenuous suggests a lack of genuineness, especially in terms of sincerity or candidness.

How do I pronounce Ingenuine?

It's pronounced as in-JEN-yoo-in, though it's rarely used.

Are there synonyms for Ingenuine?

"Not genuine," "inauthentic," and "fake" can serve as synonyms, though "ingenuine" itself is rarely used.

Can Disingenuous be used in formal writing?

Yes, Disingenuous is appropriate for formal contexts, whereas Ingenuine is less standard and may not be recognized by all readers.

What's the origin of the word Disingenuous?

It has its roots in Latin, with "dis-" meaning "not" and "ingenuus" meaning "native, freeborn."
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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