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

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

After losing their innocence and spending six to 13 years in prison each, a serial rapist confessed to the crime, freeing the young men and exonerating them. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Central Park Five Prosecutor Linda Fairstein Dropped By Her Publisher," 8 June 2019 By Preston Lauterbach Norton, 339 pages, $27.95 Back in 1997, a dying James Earl Ray, long imprisoned for King’s murder, claimed to have new evidence proving his innocence, and the subject of the assassination was once again in the news. Clifford Thompson, WSJ, "‘A Spy in Canaan’ and ‘Bluff City’ Review: Reporter and Informer," 22 Feb. 2019 Kranz navigates Sam’s simultaneous innocence and dangerous selfishness nicely, and his clear consternation at the situation is one of the film’s better comic elements. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "In You Might Be the Killer, a Twitter thread expands into a horror-comedy — barely," 5 Oct. 2018 No due process, no presumption of innocence and literally no corroboration at all. Fox News, "Hannity: Democrats have turned SCOTUS process into a sham," 27 Sep. 2018 Advertising Stone, who is set to go on trial in November, has maintained his innocence and blasted the special counsel’s investigation as politically motivated. Chad Day, The Seattle Times, "Trump confidant Roger Stone seeks full Mueller report," 13 Apr. 2019 But now, Sophie has professed her innocence, while pointing the finger back at Emilia. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Sophie Turner Says Emilia Clarke Was Responsible for the "Game of Thrones" Coffee Cup Error," 12 May 2019 Drawn to the idea of bows and fashion that captured the innocence Sontag felt was integral to pure camp, Gaga looked to longtime friend, Brandon Maxwell, to create a variety of dresses that would be unveiled one after the other, nesting doll style. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "See How Lady Gaga Pulled Off the Greatest Met Gala Entrance of All Time," 10 May 2019 Truitt portrays an innocence and vulnerability that never feels forced and draws viewers in even if his brother's decisions start to feel cartoon-levels of bad at times. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Kin: If you can’t pick your family, hopefully you can find space weapons," 1 Sep. 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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Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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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
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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behavior toward others

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