innocent

1 of 2

adjective

in·​no·​cent ˈi-nə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio)
1
a
: free from legal guilt or fault
also : lawful
a wholly innocent transaction
b
: free from guilt or sin especially through lack of knowledge of evil : blameless
an innocent child
c
: 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
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
innocently adverb

innocent

2 of 2

noun

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.

Examples of innocent in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Noun an innocent who is often puzzled by and prey to the evils of the world
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Some people walk in just to talk to someone, and sometimes their intentions are less innocent. Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2024 Every person charged or accused of a crime in this country is presumed innocent. Rebekah Riess, CNN, 12 July 2024
Noun
The memory of 346 innocents killed by Boeing demands more justice than this. James Hill, ABC News, 30 June 2024 Officers are trained to prioritize, in order, the safety of hostages, innocents, law enforcement, and, lastly, suspects. Miguel Torres, The Arizona Republic, 14 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for innocent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'innocent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near innocent

Cite this Entry

“Innocent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/innocent. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

innocent

adjective
in·​no·​cent ˈin-ə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio)
1
: free from sin : pure
2
: free from guilt or blame : guiltless
innocent of the crime
3
: free from harmful influence or effect : harmless
innocent fun
4
innocent noun
innocently adverb

Medical Definition

innocent

adjective
in·​no·​cent ˈin-ə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio)
: lacking capacity to injure : benign
an innocent tumor
innocent heart murmurs

Legal Definition

innocent

adjective
in·​no·​cent ˈi-nə-sənt How to pronounce innocent (audio)
: characterized by innocence

Biographical Definition

Innocent

biographical name

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

More from Merriam-Webster on innocent

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