in·​no·​cence | \ ˈi-nə-sən(t)s How to pronounce innocence (audio) \

Definition of innocence

1a : freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil : blamelessness
b : chastity
c : freedom from legal guilt of a particular crime or offense
d(1) : freedom from guile or cunning : simplicity
(2) : lack of worldly experience or sophistication
e : lack of knowledge : ignorance written in entire innocence of the Italian language— E. R. Bentley
2 : one that is innocent
3 : bluet

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Examples of innocence in a Sentence

He vows that he will prove his innocence in court. the trusting innocence of childhood The age of innocence was over.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Becoming a successful and financially independent young woman so early on comes with responsibilities, which can take away from life’s innocence. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid Tears Up While Discussing How She's Dealt with Fame," 3 Apr. 2019 But nothing shakes his family's belief in Michael Blagg's innocence. Susan Mallie, CBS News, "Colorado man convicted of wife's murder gets a second shot at freedom," 12 May 2018 Despite repeatedly declaring his innocence, Em is finally caught as a detective enters his home to talk to him about his recent killing sprees. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "Eminem Escapes From an Asylum in Twisted Visual for 'Framed': Watch," 3 Apr. 2018 Whether Akhavi was contemptuous of the proceedings or truly believed in her own innocence is unknown. azcentral, "Farsi postscript on fraud plea costs California GOP donor four extra years in prison," 30 Mar. 2018 Nathan’s parents weren’t the only ones who believed in his innocence. James D. Walsh, Daily Intelligencer, "A Son Took His Mother Out Fishing. She Never Came Back.," 23 Jan. 2018 Dana Andrews stars as the writer who frames himself for murder, leaving evidence that will prove his innocence in the hands of his boss, who happens to be his future father-in-law. Chris Ball,, "Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya,' now on DVD and Blu-ray (review)," 25 Mar. 2018 All nineteen refused to admit to witchcraft and maintained their innocence. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Live In A Replica Of The Salem Witch House," 31 Oct. 2018 Her plantation owner ordered the autopsy to prove his innocence and he was eventually exonerated. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Complete History of the Autopsy," 26 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innocence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of innocence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for innocence

The first known use of innocence was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of innocence

: the state of being not guilty of a crime or other wrong act
: lack of experience with the world and with the bad things that happen in life
somewhat formal : lack of knowledge about something


in·​no·​cence | \ ˈi-nə-səns How to pronounce innocence (audio) \

Kids Definition of innocence

: the quality or state of being free from sin or guilt The evidence proved his innocence.


in·​no·​cence | \ ˈi-nə-səns How to pronounce innocence (audio) \

Legal Definition of innocence

: freedom from fault or guilt under the law: as
a : the state of not being guilty of a particular crime or offense — compare guilt
b : the state of not being guilty of an act that constitutes a ground for divorce
c : ignorance on the part of a party to a transaction of facts that would lead a person of ordinary prudence to make inquiries

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Comments on innocence

What made you want to look up innocence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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