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

Over the Rainbow’ is superbly played by Zellweger as part stream-of-consciousness confessional, part return-to-innocence reset; rarely since its original Wizard of Oz incarnation has the old chestnut been so stirringly used on screen. Joey Nolfi,, "Judy, Uncut Gems, Ford v Ferrari reviews stoke Oscar fire at Telluride," 31 Aug. 2019 These abusers are like the Old Testament god Molech, lying in wait with a rapacious hunger for the sacrifice of both children’s innocence and their trust in God. Susan Codone, Twin Cities, "Susan Codone: Protestants must step up efforts to stop sexual abuse in churches," 28 Aug. 2019 The former construction work has claimed innocence throughout the case, which is approaching its fourth year. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky man charged with murdering, raping girl in 2015 pleads guilty," 25 Aug. 2019 Things also come to a head when Bryce's mother (Brenda Strong) slowly begins to doubt her son's innocence in all of this. Rachel Paige,, "Do Not Forget How Awful Bryce Walker Was To Everyone On 13 Reasons Why," 24 Aug. 2019 PowPAC newcomer Eliza Huf as Elyot’s 20-years-younger bride Sybil is charming in the role, with Huf finding just the right mix of naive innocence and cunning. Pomerado News, "REVIEW: PowPAC’s ‘Private Lives’ is full of comedy and action," 21 Aug. 2019 Drawings and cutouts of kids with pink and purple hair and innocence in their eyes decorate the room. Jeneé Osterheldt,, "Mass shootings require a call to action. Will we answer?," 21 Aug. 2019 During this time, defense attorneys and family members of victims in the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire have taken to reading any overture from the jury as a clue to the defendants’ innocence or guilt. Megan Cassidy,, "Ghost Ship jurors request key testimony in second week of deliberations," 14 Aug. 2019 The 1969 edition of Woodstock still resonates in popular culture, Etheridge said, because of an artistic sense of adventure and innocence not based on cashing in. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "Melissa Etheridge salutes original Woodstock acts before her Indiana State Fair show," 13 Aug. 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 1a

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Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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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
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

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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