in·​no·​cent | \ ˈi-nə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio) \

Definition of innocent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil : blameless an innocent child
b : harmless in effect or intention … searching for a hidden motive in even the most innocent conversation.— Leonard Wibberley also : candid gave me an innocent gaze
c : free from legal guilt or fault also : lawful a wholly innocent transaction
2a : lacking or reflecting a lack of sophistication, guile, or self-consciousness : artless, ingenuous
b : ignorant almost entirely innocent of Latin— C. L. Wrenn also : unaware perfectly innocent of the confusion he had created — B. R. Haydon
3 : lacking or deprived of something her face innocent of cosmetics— Marcia Davenport


plural innocents

Definition of innocent (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person who is innocent: such as
a : a person free from sin : a young child the biblical massacre/slaughter of the innocents
b : a naïve, inexperienced, or unsophisticated person a political innocent … during a great land boom in which immense fortunes were made and innocents like himself fleeced.— Arthur Miller
c : a blameless person : a person who does not deserve to be harmed The war caused the death of thousands of innocents.


biographical name
In·​no·​cent | \ ˈi-nə-sənt How to pronounce Innocent (audio) \

Definition of Innocent (Entry 3 of 3)

name of 13 popes: especially II died 1143 (pope 1130–43); III 1160(or 1161)–1216 (pope 1198–1216); IV died 1254 (pope 1243–54); XI 1611–1689 (pope 1676–89)

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Other Words from innocent


innocently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for innocent

Synonyms: Adjective

impeccable, pure, sinless, white

Synonyms: Noun

angel, dove, lamb, sheep

Antonyms: Adjective

impure, peccant, sinful, sinning

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of innocent in a Sentence


He says that he is innocent of the crime. She was found innocent of all charges. A person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. Someone told your secret, but it wasn't me. I'm innocent.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

If Avery really is innocent, just how reliable is this system that is charged with incarcerating people, potentially for life, and even executing them? German Lopez, Vox, "The first season was a huge hit, and quite a bit has happened since it premiered.," 18 Oct. 2018 For Swift, who has been unwillingly appropriated by some in the alt-right as a hero, having a Fourth of July party isn’t so innocent., "What It Means If Taylor Swift Skips Another Fourth Of July Party," 3 July 2018 In his Wednesday blog post, Moses doubled down on his stance that Allen — who was never charged after an investigation, and has denied Dylan's claims for decades — is innocent. Evan Real, The Hollywood Reporter, "Woody Allen's Son Moses Farrow Defends Father, Claims Mother Mia Farrow Was Abusive," 23 May 2018 Butler told reporters after Willett's sentencing that his client didn't steal from innocent people as the money was believed to be headed from local dealers to large-scale drug distributors. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "How a McDonald's receipt crippled an elite Louisville drug-fighting team," 18 June 2018 Because truly that was such a special, innocent, young love thing and that is a thing of the past. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Kiernan Shipka on Sabrina and Harvey's Fate in "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina"," 16 Dec. 2018 Writers' names have been removed from their contributions to protect the not-entirely-innocent. Ars Science Staff, Ars Technica, "Here are the subjects our reporters enjoy covering the least," 15 Sep. 2018 After two trials, and an uproar from community members who believed Coley was innocent, he was convicted of the crimes. Pam Kragen,, "Win or lose, baseball's just as sweet for exonerated man," 11 July 2018 England's players weren't completely innocent, however, with Henderson getting booked and appearing to use his head to barge into an opponent. Steve Douglas,, "England's John Stones calls Colombia the 'dirtiest team' he's ever faced," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And would said bear go after the thoughtless photographer or the four innocents? WSJ, "Readers Support the Right to Disarm Bears," 2 Aug. 2018 Slaughtering journalists and innocents is a hallmark of Third World countries and endangered, struggling democracies. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "The real fireworks this 4th of July? National anxiety. What’s happening to our country?," 4 July 2018 Both Gren and Dil are Grendel, the monster who Beowulf must fight and kill — and, in The Mere Wife, both of them are innocents. Constance Grady, Vox, "The Mere Wife is an eerie, playful reimagining of Beowulf for the suburbs," 8 Aug. 2018 On March 30, 2006, Kennard was declared innocent of the crimes that sent him to prison. Fox News, "Mississippi college giving posthumous degree to black vet," 5 May 2018 The government, which is supposed to protect life, is willfully taking part in the slaughter of innocents. Angie Leventis Lourgos,, "Woman who had tax-funded abortion says they 'help people in bad situations,' but critics decry public money for 'immoral act'," 25 June 2018 He was accused of using bombs and bullets in a crusade that took the lives of innocents but never did manage to snare that Cuban leader, who died at 90 in 2016. Frances Robles,, "Luis Posada Carriles, waged quest to oust Castro, dies at 90," 25 May 2018 His arrest allowed other groups to move into the drug trade, leading to a battle for territory and the killings of both criminals and innocents throughout the country. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Thousands of immigrants pass through the southern border. Why are they fleeing their home countries?," 25 June 2018 Basquiat became famous in the early 1980s, when the idea that artists were supposed to be commercial innocents fell apart for good. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innocent.' 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 innocent


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for innocent


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin innocent-, innocens, from in- + nocent-, nocens wicked, from present participle of nocēre to harm — more at noxious

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Statistics for innocent

Last Updated

20 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for innocent

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

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More Definitions for innocent



English Language Learners Definition of innocent

: not guilty of a crime or other wrong act
: not deserving to be harmed
: lacking experience with the world and the bad things that happen in life


in·​no·​cent | \ ˈi-nə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio) \

Kids Definition of innocent

1 : free from sin : pure She's as innocent as a baby.
2 : free from guilt or blame He is innocent of the charges.
3 : free from evil influence or effect : harmless innocent fun

Other Words from innocent

innocently adverb


in·​no·​cent | \ ˈin-ə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio) \

Medical Definition of innocent

: lacking capacity to injure : benign an innocent tumor innocent heart murmurs

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in·​no·​cent | \ ˈi-nə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio) \

Legal Definition of innocent

: characterized by innocence

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Comments on innocent

What made you want to look up innocent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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