Ingenuous

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.

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