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

Definition of innocence

1a : freedom from legal guilt of a particular crime or offense
b : freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil : blamelessness
c : lack of knowledge : ignorance … written in entire innocence of the Italian language.— E. R. Bentley
d(1) : freedom from guile or cunning : simplicity
(2) : lack of worldly experience or sophistication
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 Those who admitted their crimes often received fines and community service while those who pleaded innocence were found guilty were given jail sentences. Jonathan Beloff, Soas, Quartz Africa, "Why France’s arrest of a high-profile Rwandan genocide suspect won’t end with a trial in Kigali," 21 May 2020 And McCrory gets to dramatically insist on her client's complete innocence in a brief scene of the trial. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Quiz miniseries revisits notorious 2001 game-show cheating scandal," 14 May 2020 There was an innocence about her far more innocent women didn’t possess. Bill Mcgraw, Detroit Free Press, "How a 1975 traffic stop thrust Kathy DuRoss into gossipy stardom with Henry Ford II," 11 May 2020 Her reporting revealed Bevin had misrepresented key facts about the case that did not support Baker's professed innocence. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "How The Courier Journal won a Pulitzer Prize for digging into Matt Bevin's parting pardons," 9 May 2020 Inspired by actual fairy tales, its atmosphere of childlike innocence is effectively conveyed in the Davin-Levin transcription. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "The Davin-Levin Duo’s relaxing debut album, ‘Banter,’ couldn’t have come at a better time," 22 Apr. 2020 Berry Godsey wrote in court documents that the evidence in the case points to Smith's innocence. Max Londberg,, "Ohio officials defied judge, held inmate with acute coronavirus risk, lawyer says," 15 Apr. 2020 The absence of evidence isn’t necessarily accepted as proof of innocence. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Red Sox investigation does little to solve video problem," 22 Apr. 2020 At the core of social justice is the presumption of innocence. Kevin Grasha,, "Tamaya Dennard set for court appearance on federal indictment today," 16 Mar. 2020

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 1b

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Time Traveler for innocence

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

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Statistics for innocence

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Innocence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for innocence


How to pronounce innocence (audio)

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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