I was drawn to the word, ‘ingénue’ being used in reference to a male sportsman in the New York Times’ (October 15) article reporting that Lamar Odom, basketball star who won two N.B.A. titles with the Los Angeles Lakers was found unconscious in a Nevada brothel. It reads:

When the E! network unveiled its plans for a spinoff called “Khloe and Lamar,” in January 2011, Odom did not appear to be an ingénue along for the ride. It was a calculated business decision made by someone who grew up aware of life’s hard realities. “As an athlete, you’ve got to take advantage of opportunities,” Odom said at the time. “When the ball stops bouncing, it stops bouncing.”


Oxford Advanced Learners English Dictionary defines ‘ingénue’’ as noun. an innocent young woman, especially in a film / movie or play.

Does ‘ingénue’ match a male athlete even as an analogy or metaphor? What does “Odom did not appear to be an ingénue along for the ride.” mean?

  • Lamar did not appear to be an innocent young woman. Not clear? It is sarcasm & hyperbole. He did not appear to be innocent or present only by accident. – Drew Oct 16 '15 at 15:56

The term ingénue is used metaphorically suggesting that he is no fool and he was perfectly aware of what he was doing and what was going on in relation to the spinoff in which he probably had an active role.


  • 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.


Along for the ride:

  • participating but not actively, as in Don't ask me how long this job will take; I'm just along for the ride.
    • This metaphoric term often is preceded by just to emphasize the passive role of the "passenger." [Mid-1900s]


  • @Yioici Oishi- Can you explain why you unaccepted this answer? Thanks. – user66974 Nov 16 '15 at 7:13

"Ingénue" is usually a cute little side character. I believe the usage in this case implies that Odom did not take a backseat roll in the making and marketing of the spinoff, but rather was very vocal and very involved.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.