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

Manafort has continued to maintain his innocence, pleading not guilty to the charges in federal court on March 8. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Mueller's Russia investigation: What to know," 13 July 2018 Onfroy has maintained his innocence, accusing Ayala of lying. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Rapper XXXTentacion's Alleged Victim Is Being Harassed Online & At Her Job," 6 June 2018 Amore, who maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, was recently cleared of the accusations. Jim Varsallone, miamiherald, "CCW's Cha Cha Charlie with former WWE Superstar Enzo Amore in New York City," 5 June 2018 But a defense attorney argued that Burgess maintains his innocence. Josh Magness, sacbee, "No jail or sex offender registry for California man accused of raping 5-year-old girl | The Sacramento Bee," 25 May 2018 Others apologized and kept their positions, or maintain their innocence. The Christian Science Monitor, "Legislators work to shift culture in statehouses in wake of #MeToo," 15 May 2018 Rabia Chaudry, the attorney who wrote a book based on Syed’s story and fought for years to prove his innocence (including on Serial), celebrated the news via Twitter. David Canfield,, "Serial subject Adnan Syed granted new trial," 29 Mar. 2018 In a tiny visitors cell at San Quentin State Prison, Kevin Cooper makes a pitch for his innocence — an argument that, after three decades on death row and endless legal battles, suddenly has new life., "'They framed me': On death row for decades, Kevin Cooper pushes for new DNA tests in Chino Hills murders," 8 July 2018 Dolores never admits it, but her character grieves over the loss of her old innocence. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Puzzled by Westworld? Look to Shakespeare.," 26 June 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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in all innocence

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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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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lying above or upon

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