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 Of crazy good chemistry and a certain degree of innocence. Ann Killion,, "49ers vs. Chiefs: A fresh, exciting, L-I-V-E Super Bowl matchup," 20 Jan. 2020 The court found that the reference may have undermined Sperou’s presumption of innocence and affected his right to a fair trial. oregonlive, "Second sex abuse trial begins for Oregon church founder Michael Sperou," 17 Jan. 2020 There are Edenic undertones to the story—though, in your version, the tree falls along with the humans, and virtually every form of innocence is lost. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "John Jeremiah Sullivan on Writing Unconsciously," 23 Dec. 2019 The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office Conviction Integrity Unit, which formed two years ago and investigates claims of innocence, has been instrumental in 13 people being released. Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit man freed from prison transforms house for 'remarkable' project," 20 Dec. 2019 Many lawyers also contend that forcing people to produce documentary evidence of their right to be called citizens tramples on the principle of presumption of innocence. The Economist, "A recipe for unrest India’s new citizenship law outrages Muslims," 12 Dec. 2019 How many more times will our nation’s highest court allow governments to execute people who have compelling claims of innocence? Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Ex-Alabama lawmaker on stepbrother’s execution: ‘The system is broken’," 14 Nov. 2019 In the interim order, obtained by ScienceInsider, the court said that presenting Sohn as guilty of misconduct had violated his constitutional rights, and that previous statements eroded the presumption of innocence. Hinnerk Feldwisch-drentrup, Science | AAAS, "German university finds “severe” misconduct by researcher who promoted questionable cancer blood test," 25 Oct. 2019 The person and office of the president should be allowed to operate under a presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty by a proper impeachment process. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Listen to Greta Thunberg and learn (9/29/19)," 29 Sep. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for innocence

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Innocence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 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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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).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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