What do Ophelia, Snow White, and Sandy from the movie "Grease" all have in common? You could call each one an ingénue, or a young female character in literature or film who is wholesome and innocent.

Ingénue comes from the French ingénu meaning "ingenuous, innocent." The term is used to describe the innocent girl stock character in film or literature. She's usually gentle, sweet, virginal, and pretty naive — which makes her susceptible to the harsh dangers of the world. Ingénue can also be used to describe an actress who specializes in playing this kind of character specifically.

Definitions of ingenue

n an artless innocent young girl (especially as portrayed on the stage)

Type of:
juvenile, juvenile person
a young person, not fully developed

n the role of an innocent artless young woman in a play

Type of:
character, part, persona, role, theatrical role
an actor's portrayal of someone in a play

n an actress who specializes in playing the role of an artless innocent young girl

Type of:
actor, histrion, player, role player, thespian
a theatrical performer

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