he was a swindler who preyed on gullible elderly widows

credulous, naive, overtrusting, overtrustful, easily deceived, easily taken in, exploitable, dupable, impressionable, unsuspecting, unsuspicious, unwary, ingenuous, innocent, inexperienced, unworldly, green; informal wet behind the ears, born yesterday
gullible, callow, credulous, ingenuous, naïve, trusting, unsophisticated
Some people will believe anything. Those who are truly gullible are the easiest to deceive, which is why they so often make fools of themselves. Those who are merely credulous might be a little too quick to believe something, but they usually aren't stupid enough to act on it. Trusting suggests the same willingness to believe (a trusting child), but it isn't necessarily a bad way to be (a person so trusting he completely disarmed his enemies). No one likes to be called naïve because it implies a lack of street smarts (she's so naïve she'd accept a ride from a stranger), but when applied to things other than people, it can describe a simplicity and absence of artificiality that is quite charming (the naïve style in which nineteenth-century American portraits were often painted). Most people would rather be thought of as ingenuous, meaning straightforward and sincere (an ingenuous confession of the truth), because it implies the simplicity of a child without the negative overtones. Callow, however, comes down a little more heavily on the side of immaturity and almost always goes hand-in-hand with youth. Whether young or old, someone who is unsophisticated suffers because of lack of experience.

Thesaurus of popular words. 2014.

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  • Gullible — Gul li*ble, a. Easily gulled; that may be duped. {Gul li*bii i*ty}, n. Burke. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gullible — index credulous, naive, unsuspecting Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • gullible — 1825, apparently a back formation from GULLIBILITY (Cf. gullibility). Gullable is attested from 1818 …   Etymology dictionary

  • gullible — *credulous Analogous words: duped, befooled, hoaxed, hoodwinked (see DUPE): deluded, beguiled, deceived, misled (see DECEIVE): im pressionable, susceptible (see SENTIENT) Antonyms: astute …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • gullible — meaning ‘easily fooled or cheated’, is spelt ible not able …   Modern English usage

  • gullible — [adj] naive, trusting being a sucker*, believing, biting, credulous, easily taken in*, easy mark*, falling hook line and sinker*, foolish, green*, innocent, kidding oneself*, mark*, silly, simple, sucker, susceptible, swallowing whole*, taken in* …   New thesaurus

  • gullible — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ easily persuaded to believe something; credulous. DERIVATIVES gullibility noun gullibly adverb. ORIGIN from GULL(Cf. ↑gull) …   English terms dictionary

  • gullible — [gul′ə bəl] adj. [ GULL2, vt. + IBLE] easily cheated or tricked; credulous: also Rare gullable gullibility n. gullibly adv …   English World dictionary

  • gullible — [[t]gʌ̱lɪb(ə)l[/t]] ADJ GRADED If you describe someone as gullible, you mean they are easily tricked because they are too trusting. What point is there in admitting that the stories fed to the gullible public were false?... I m so gullible I… …   English dictionary

  • gullible — gul|li|ble [ gʌləbl ] adjective a gullible person is easy to trick because they trust and believe people too easily: gullible tourists ─ opposite CYNICAL …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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