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For cynical people, the word "cynics" is commonly used. For example, on this page at dictionary.com, one of the definitions is

cynical: (adjective) of or relating to the Cynics or their doctrines.

Is there a similar term for naive that can be used in a similar fashion? For example, something like

of or relating to the Naives or their doctorines.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Jacinto, jimm101, curiousdannii, tchrist single-word-requests Apr 3 '16 at 12:55

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    You could use naifs (note the f) or innocents. – Dan Bron Apr 2 '16 at 13:46
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    @PeeyushKushwaha Now that would be a great second question to ask here on EL&U! (Short answer is: I don't know, but someone here sure will.) – Dan Bron Apr 2 '16 at 14:02
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    Cynic with capital C was in Ancient Greece a follower of Cynicism, a particular phylosophical school (that's why they have doctrines). Collectively they are called the Cynics. A cynic with lower case c is simply a cynical person. I'm not aware of an analogous naive school of thought. (But perhaps a school of painting?) – Jacinto Apr 2 '16 at 14:12
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    Jacinto is correct. The proper noun has led to the other more general usages: Cynic's ... > cynical. You will not find Naïf/s in the dictionary you mention (though it might just be used in the Art World, for painters of naïve art or their work). There is no corresponding single word term for a group of naïve people. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 2 '16 at 14:56
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    Sheeple maybe? – Mohammad Sanei Apr 2 '16 at 18:34

naif, as defined by Vocabulary.com

noun: a naive or inexperienced person

.....naif is [similar to] to the adjective naive. They share a common origin, the French word naïf, which means both "natural, unspoiled, or innocent" and also "foolish." When you describe someone using the adjective form of naif — which can be used interchangeably with naive — you are usually implying that the person is a little childlike or immature

adjective: marked by or showing unaffected simplicity and lack of guile or worldly experience

When I first saw the question, I immediately thought naif. Then I saw it in comments, and assumed somebody was busy writing an answer. But no, maybe because Colin Fine (see comment) doubts that 2% of English speakers would recognize the word "naïf". Assuming he is right, that would be about 20,000,000 people worldwide. IMO, enough to justify an answer!

As for a collection of naïfs, I suggest "a nursery of naïfs".

Example Sentence (made up and plausible for any political commentator writing for a literate audience):

Only economic naïfs believe that X's policies will do anything to help the middle class.

  • "a nursery of naïfs" -- that's truly good. – R.S. Apr 3 '16 at 3:41

There are two problems here.

First, In the definition you quote, "the Cynics" (note the capital C) is a proper noun, the name of a group of ancient Greek philosophers. That is the reason that "the Cynics" has been used without some context specifying the group. If you used another plural noun (eg "the thinkers" or "the idiots") it would not be meaningful unless somehow you indicated which group of thinkers or idiots you meant.

Secondly, "naive" is not normally used as a noun in English. Since English is very fluid in its parts of speech, you will be understood if you say "the naives", but it is not idiomatic, and since it is not a proper noun like "the Cynics", it will not designate any particular group unless the context provides one.

(In writing, it is also likely to be misread as "the natives", but that is another matter).

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    The noun in English is naif. Why we imported the French feminine form as the adjective, and the French masculine form as the noun is a mystery to me, but that's what happened. – Peter Shor Apr 2 '16 at 16:29
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    Yes, but I doubt if 2% of English speakers would recognise the word naif. – Colin Fine Apr 2 '16 at 17:18
  • Yes, naif is much rarer than naive, although it may be more common as a noun (except maybe in plural form the naive). – Peter Shor Apr 2 '16 at 17:36
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    I think naif is moderately well known. – Hot Licks Apr 3 '16 at 2:19
  • The GloWbE corpus has 106 instances of "naif" as a common noun (which is an overestimate: for example, all three of the instances that finds from Singapore are in fact proper nouns) as against 16918 instances of "naive" – Colin Fine Apr 3 '16 at 15:39

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