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I'm looking for a word that could describe a person who is very gullible and easily trusts people.

My specific example is Fortunato from Edgar Allen Poe's story: The Cask of Amontillado

Edit: the character's name is Fortunato.

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I would say gullible itself is the best word for many contexts. But much depends on whether OP seeks a word implying someone who trusts others too easily, and is thus often misled. Or someone who has the highly-desiriable trait of being able to identify and fully trust people who are worthy of that trust, who doesn't have internal hangups that prevent many people from trusting others as much as perhaps they should. –  FumbleFingers Oct 23 '11 at 16:55
    
I'd actually love a single-word for the second one. –  Jeremy Oct 23 '11 at 17:34
    
@Jeremy: I think trustfulness does actually convey that second sense. But the fact of the matter is we're far more interested in the first trait anyway, so any attempt to talk about the second is likely to be misunderstood unless you use more words to get your point across. –  FumbleFingers Oct 27 '11 at 13:20

12 Answers 12

up vote 25 down vote accepted

Credulous is a good alternative to gullible.

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I like that, sounds sophisticated and allows me to express the same point multiple times without being repetitive. –  XAleXOwnZX Oct 23 '11 at 20:05

Not to sound too obvious, but what is wrong with "trusting"?

John was very trusting, some might even say gullible.

Your question is a little unclear because gullible doesn't just mean "easily trusts others", it really means "easily deceived," or "easily taken in." For sure, a gullible person might be trusting, but I don't think all trusting people are necessarily gullible.

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Maybe you are looking for the word 'naïve'?

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Not at all. Naïve means inexperienced, unsophisticated, ingenuous. It just so happens that people like that may be more likely to be overly trusting as well, because they haven't yet even learnt how to maintain a healthy scepticism. –  FumbleFingers Oct 24 '11 at 3:12

I think you answered that yourself:

  • gullible
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didn't seem quite right but i'll take ur word for it ;) –  XAleXOwnZX Oct 23 '11 at 17:02
    
haha see what i did there? That was a pun xD –  XAleXOwnZX Oct 23 '11 at 17:02
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Gullible? That's been removed from the dictionary, you know. –  Brian Hooper Oct 23 '11 at 17:17
    
No it's not, I just looked it up... –  XAleXOwnZX Oct 23 '11 at 20:03
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Lol i'm totally kidding –  XAleXOwnZX Oct 23 '11 at 20:03

In a modern context the noun pushover can refer to someone who is easily led, easy to influence or convince, or can be drawn into situations with little effort.

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I would agree, but I'm writing a formal literary essay. –  XAleXOwnZX Oct 23 '11 at 20:04
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In that case, for a more formal equivalent I would use 'ingenuous.' –  AndrewNimmo Oct 23 '11 at 20:17

I think dupe is the perfect word to use!

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Rather informal and US-only, though. –  scottishwildcat Oct 23 '11 at 23:10

Gullible and naive both suggest that the person trusts too easily, or is easily deceived. I suggest choosing "trusting" instead. It seems to describe someone who trusts easily versus someone who trusts too easily.

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I'm not sure what you mean. How is trusting more descriptive of someone who trusts easily rather than too easily? More details please? –  Ellie Kesselman Nov 18 '11 at 18:50

If you'd like an informal term, "shnook" is humorous.

Otherwise, there is also simpleton, chump, and gobemouche.

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A somewhat negative way to convey this would be to call a person a sucker. As in "There's a sucker born every minute", often credited to P. T. Barnum.

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You might say the person is unassuming, an ingenue, or a "babe in the woods."

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I think it depends on the tone of the sentence. Compare the tones in the following phrases:

  • He is gullible (witless)
  • He is trusting (naïve)
  • He is certain. (confident)
  • He gives the benefit of the doubt. (forgiving of fault)
  • He believes that... ()
  • He's confident that ...
  • He gives stock to...
  • He's assured that ...
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In French it would be "candid", but if I candidly trust Google define operator, the meaning has shifted to "Truthful and straightforward; frank".

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Candid is someone that you can trust, more than someone that easily trusts others. –  simchona Oct 26 '11 at 4:28

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