in·​no·​cence ˈi-nə-sən(t)s How to pronounce innocence (audio)
: freedom from legal guilt of a particular crime or offense
: freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil : blamelessness
: lack of knowledge : ignorance
… written in entire innocence of the Italian language.E. R. Bentley
: freedom from guile or cunning : simplicity
: lack of worldly experience or sophistication
: one that is innocent
: bluet

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Zhou knows how to make a statement with his fashion, and this particular show had my seatmates beaming with a childlike innocence that is rarely evoked by a fashion show. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 19 Sep. 2023 Prosecutors are required to disclose to defense attorneys information that may point to a defendant’s innocence or that calls into question a witness’ propensity for telling the truth. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 18 Sep. 2023 The rapper has maintained his innocence in various social media posts since his sentencing. Deena Zaru, ABC News, 14 Sep. 2023 Irvin maintained his innocence throughout the civil process and even provided video footage from a security camera that showed the incident. Victoria Hernandez, USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2023 After hearing evidence and witness testimony from both sides, a panel — consisting of two LAPD officers with the rank of captain or higher and one civilian or, increasingly, all civilians — comes to a decision about an officer’s guilt or innocence. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 Masterson has been jailed since May and maintains his innocence. Harold Maass, The Week, 8 Sep. 2023 The actor, who maintains his innocence, was convicted on two of three forcible rape charges this past May. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 7 Sep. 2023 His attorney continued to maintain his innocence on Thursday. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'innocence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near innocence

Cite this Entry

“Innocence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​no·​cence ˈin-ə-sən(t)s How to pronounce innocence (audio)
: the quality or state of being innocent

Legal Definition


in·​no·​cence ˈi-nə-səns How to pronounce innocence (audio)
: freedom from fault or guilt under the law: as
: the state of not being guilty of a particular crime or offense compare guilt
: the state of not being guilty of an act that constitutes a ground for divorce
: ignorance on the part of a party to a transaction of facts that would lead a person of ordinary prudence to make inquiries

More from Merriam-Webster on innocence

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