I’ve decided that the word “ingenuous” is… strange. It’s one of those few words that camouflages its meaning instead of advertising its essence with its timbre; a study of contradiction played out in syllables.
Take, for example, the first syllable: “in.” A harsh, stringent Latin sound. Negating. Inverting. Maybe even extirpating.
Contrast this, now, to the second: “gen.” A warm, inviting lilt. As sticky as honey and as mellifluous as a songbird.
We add the requisite “-uous” to fit this amalgamation into the vagaries and intricacies of the English language’s hallowed Rules for Adjectives, and admire our result: “ingenuous.” The portmanteau grates against itself with a sense of mutual anathema and resignation, and with labor pangs a neologism is birthed.
So then what do we do with this Frankenstein creation, this word neither sweet nor sour, soft nor hard? What do we do with this enigma of a word that would seem to elude all exegesis by virtue of its contrasting halves? What do we do?
We makes its definition “openly straightforward, frank, or candid,” of course.