adjective in·no·cent \ ˈi-nə-sənt \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of innocent

1 a :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
2 a :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



Examples of innocent in a Sentence

  1. He says that he is innocent of the crime.

  2. She was found innocent of all charges.

  3. A person accused of a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.

  4. Someone told your secret, but it wasn't me. I'm innocent.

Recent Examples of innocent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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




Definition of innocent

plural innocents
: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.

First Known Use of innocent

14th century


biographical name In·no·cent \ ˈi-nə-sənt \

Definition of Innocent

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)

INNOCENT Defined for Kids


adjective in·no·cent \ ˈi-nə-sənt \

Definition of innocent for Students

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



Medical Dictionary


adjective in·no·cent \ ˈin-ə-sənt \

medical Definition of innocent

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

Law Dictionary


adjective in·no·cent \ ˈi-nə-sənt \

legal Definition of innocent

:characterized by innocence

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to suppress quietly or indirectly

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