Etymology
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artless (adj.)
1580s, "unskillful," from art (n.) + -less. Later also "uncultured, rude" (1590s); then "unartificial, natural" (1670s) and "guileless, ingenuous" (1713). Related: Artlessly; artlessness.
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art (n.)
Origin and meaning of art

early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar(ə)-ti- (source also of Sanskrit rtih "manner, mode;" Greek artizein "to prepare"), suffixed form of root *ar- "to fit together." Etymologically akin to Latin arma "weapons."

In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c. 1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Meaning "system of rules and traditions for performing certain actions" is from late 15c. Sense of "skill in cunning and trickery" first attested late 16c. (the sense in artful, artless). Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s.

Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead. [William Butler Yeats, journal, 1909]

Expression art for art's sake (1824) translates French l'art pour l'art. First record of art critic is from 1847. Arts and crafts "decorative design and handcraft" first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888.

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ingenue (n.)
"young woman who displays innocent candor or simplicity," 1848, from French ingénue "artless girl," especially as a character on the stage, noun use of fem. of ingénu "ingenuous, artless, simple" (13c.), from Latin ingenuus "frank, upright, candid," originally "free-born" (see ingenuous). Italicized in English into 20c.
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naif (adj.)

"ingenuous, artless, natural," 1590s, from French naïf, literally "naive" (see naive). The masculine form of the French word, but used in English without reference to gender. As a noun, "natural, artless, naive person," first attested 1893, from French, where Old French naif also meant "native inhabitant; simpleton, natural fool."

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naive (adj.)

1650s, "natural, simple, unsophisticated, artless," from French naïve, fem. of naïf, from Old French naif "naive, natural, genuine; just born; foolish, innocent; unspoiled, unworked" (13c.), from Latin nativus "not artificial," also "native, rustic," literally "born, innate, natural" (see native (adj.)). In philosophy, "unreflecting, uncritical" (1895), used of non-philosophers. Related: Naively.

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ingenuous (adj.)
1590s, "noble in nature, high-minded; honorably straightforward," from Latin ingenuus "with the virtues of freeborn people, of noble character, frank, upright, candid," originally "native, freeborn," literally "born in (a place)," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + PIE *gen(e)-wo-, suffixed form of root gene- "to give birth, beget, produce" (see genus). Sense of "artless, innocent" is 1670s, via evolution from "honorably open, straightforward," to "innocently frank." Related: Ingenuously; ingenuousness.
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folk-music (n.)

"music of the people," 1852 (Andrew Hamilton, "Sixteen Months in the Danish Isles"), from folk in the "of the people" sense (also see folklore) + music. Modeled on German Volksmusik. In reference to a branch of modern popular music imitative of the simple and artless style of music originating among the common people (originally associated with Greenwich Village in New York City) it dates from 1958.

Of airs properly national, it should be remembered, the composers are not known. They are found existing among the people, who are ignorant of their origin. They are, to borrow a German phrase, folk-music. [Richard Grant White, "National Hymns," New York, 1861]
The term National Music implies that music, which, appertaining to a nation or tribe, whose individual emotions and passions it expresses, exhibits certain peculiarities more or less characteristic, which distinguish it from the music of any other nation or tribe.*
* The Germans call it Volksmusik, a designation which is very appropriate, and which I should have rendered folk-music, had this word been admissible. [Carl Engel, "An Introduction to the Study of National Music," London, 1866]
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innocent (adj.)

mid-14c., "doing no evil; free from sin, guilt, or moral wrong," from Old French inocent "harmless; not guilty; pure" (12c.), from Latin innocentem (nominative innocens) "not guilty, blameless; harmless; disinterested," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocentem (nominative nocens), present participle of nocere "to harm," from *nok-s-, suffixed form of PIE root *nek- (1) "death."

Meaning "free from guilt of a specific crime or charge" is from late 14c., as is the meaning "with childlike simplicity or artlessness." Humorous sense "free, devoid of" is from 1706. The noun meaning "person who is innocent of sin or evil, artless or simple person" is from c. 1200, especially a young child (who presumably has not yet sinned actively). The Holy Innocents (early 14c.) were the young children slain by Herod after the birth of Jesus (Matthew ii.16), hence Innocents day (Dec. 28).

Indo-European words for "innocent" are generally negative compound of the word for "guilty." An exception is the Germanic group represented by Gothic swikns (also "pure, chaste"), Old Norse sykn "free from guilt, innocent" (especially as a law term), Old English swicn "clearance from a charge," also "cleansing," but these are of uncertain origin.

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