in·​no·​cence | \ ˈi-nə-sən(t)s \

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

While Netflix won’t say how many subscribers have watched it, the internet is rife with speculation about Mr. Peterson’s guilt or innocence. Kevin Lincoln, WSJ, "‘The Staircase,’ Years Later, Finds Its Audience," 16 July 2018 Celeste’s loss of innocence curiously mirrored that of the nation. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Vox Lux’ Review: Dressing Sharp, Feeling Flat," 6 Dec. 2018 Steve imbued SpongeBob SquarePants with a unique sense of humor and innocence that has brought joy to generations of kids and families everywhere. James Freeman, WSJ, "‘Relentless Optimism and Fundamental Sweetness’," 27 Nov. 2018 Since the dawn of the internet, tech companies have promised nervous parents an easy way to protect their children’s innocence that’ll block access to anything that’s too risqué while allowing them to freely browse the safer side of the internet. Lux Alptraum, The Verge, "Online porn filters will never work," 26 Nov. 2018 Kavanaugh’s claims of innocence versus 46 percent who believed Christine Blasey Ford. Zoey Grossman; Fashion Editor: Cassie Anderson, Harper's BAZAAR, "Uzo Aduba, Katie Holmes & Ieshia Evans Reenact Iconic Images of Social Change," 20 Nov. 2018 This might seem like an insignificant detail, but could come back to make a big difference in the case for Nano’s innocence (or Polo’s guilt). Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, ""Elite" Season 2: Questions We Need the Netflix Thriller to Answer," 15 Oct. 2018 As top Indiana Republican leaders call for his resignation, Curtis Hill claims innocence. Tony Cook, Indianapolis Star, "Special prosecutor sought in Curtis Hill groping investigation," 10 July 2018 Israel’s tour passes the high school where Donna and Laura spent their last fleeting moments of innocence. Tantri Wija, The Seattle Times, "It’s happening again: Inside Western Washington’s ‘Twin Peaks’ tourism," 20 Nov. 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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Statistics for innocence

Last Updated

10 Jan 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

: lack of knowledge about something


in·​no·​cence | \ ˈi-nə-səns \

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 \

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

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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