Synonyms: Immature

This list has all the words you need to describe every aspect of youthful inexperience, from the endearing to the annoying. For more synonym lists, explore our Say What You Mean resources.
17 words 1,637 learners

Learn words with Flashcards and other activities

Full list of words from this list:

  1. adolescent
    a person who is older than 12 but younger than 20
    They danced in silence for a moment or two with Ben watching his feet and Lillian smiling at his adolescent discomfiture in formal dress.The Great Santini
    Adolescens is Latin for "a young person."
  2. amateur
    lacking professional skill or expertise
    She keeps photos of her son, as well as trophies he won as an amateur basketball player, in the living room of her apartment.Reuters (Sep 3, 2020)
    Amateur is French, from the Latin verb amare, meaning "to love." An amateur is one who does an activity — a sport, a hobby, a creative pursuit — for the love of it, not necessarily due to exceptional skill. The essential meaning is the opposite of professional, and it can be a complement or an insult depending on the context and the quality of the result.
  3. callow
    young and inexperienced
    You are worrying that I am too young and callow to fulfill the duties of the office.Washington Post (Feb 13, 2020)
    A Germanic word, callow originally meant "bald" or "hairless." Because it referred to baby birds, among other things, the associated meaning of "young, new to the world, and inexperienced" is the one that stuck.
  4. credulous
    showing a lack of judgment or experience
    She asked Mr. Mears what he thought about the gossip carried in such triumph by her credulous husband.Maxwell, W. B. (William Babington)
    Credulous is a synonym for gullible: describing someone who will believe nearly anything.
  5. guileless
    innocent and free of deceit
    Her face is open and guileless, her beauty plain.Ophelia
    Guile is deceit, or sneaky dishonesty, so someone without that is innocent and therefore vulnerable to deception.
  6. ignorant
    uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication
    She resented being told constantly that she was ignorant and stupid when she knew she wasn't.Matilda
  7. immature
    not yet fully developed
    "This is the work of a person far above eighteen years. This is no immature youth! The people must be protected from traitors like him! The Fatherland is at stake!"The Boy Who Dared
  8. infantile
    of or relating to babies
    “Sitting next to you. Your mother. Who held your hand as you took your first infantile steps.”The Fault in Our Stars
  9. ingenue
    an artless innocent young girl
    Elaine Dodge was both the ingenue and the athlete—the thoroughly modern type of girl—equally at home with tennis and tango, table talk and tea.Reeve, Arthur B. (Arthur Benjamin)
    A French word, from the Latin ingenuus, ingenue is often seen in dramatic contexts, describing a particular character type: a vulnerable young woman.
  10. ingenuous
    lacking in sophistication or worldliness
    Was there ever a more ingenuous confession, a more thorough contrition, a more profound humility, or a more utter self-despair?Cross, Joseph
    From the same root as ingenue, above, ingenuous is another synonym for "naive" or "inexperienced."
  11. jejune
    lacking interest or significance or impact
    His comments in the catalogue interview are disturbingly inarticulate and jejune.Washington Post (Feb 11, 2016)
    Jejunus means "fasting" in Latin, so jejune can mean "thin," "lacking," or "empty." Its additional sense of "immature" may be due to the mistaken notion that it relates to the French jeune, meaning "young."
  12. juvenile
    of or relating to children or young people
    “There won’t be a trial by jury. No juries in juvenile court.”Red Kayak
  13. naive
    marked by or showing unaffected simplicity
    “I don't want you to be naive. What kind of a mother would I be if I didn't try to teach my daughter about the world?”Starfish
    Another French word, meaning "immature," "innocent," or "guileless," naive is actually the feminine form of the word. A male would be called naïf.
  14. puerile
    displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity
    The yearbook group pays him a retainer because he says his time is too valuable to work on puerile and fleeting pursuits like the high school yearbook for free.From Twinkle, with Love
  15. sophomore
    a second-year undergraduate
    There were likely sophomores, juniors and seniors in the mix.Washington Times (Aug 26, 2020)
    A sophomore is a second-year high school or college student, but a sophomoric argument is illogical, ill-informed, or specious.
  16. tenderfoot
    an inexperienced person
    I was a tenderfoot for six months; now I’m a second-degree scout—with hope of becoming a first-class one soon.Hornibrook, Isabel
  17. unfledged
    young and inexperienced
    Such a crowd resemble a nest of unfledged birds, absolutely dependent for their very existence on the activity and success of the old ones.Cobbett, William
Created on February 23, 2020 (updated March 3, 2021)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.