Definition of innocence in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈinəsəns/


1The state, quality, or fact of being innocent of a crime or offense: they must prove their innocence
More example sentences
  • It is always open to the judge or the jury, if there is a jury, to accept an interpretation of the facts consistent with innocence.
  • No reinterpretation of the evidence and no protestations of innocence can alter those facts.
  • After all, it refers to a standard of proof that assumes innocence until guilt is proven.
guiltlessness, blamelessness, irreproachability
1.1Lack of guile or corruption; purity: the healthy bloom in her cheeks gave her an aura of innocence
More example sentences
  • Her image of purity, innocence and kindness fits the traditional Chinese female role.
  • I always tell her she has the quality that all of us need to project more, which is purity and innocence.
  • Eager to learn from the great man, she hangs on his every word, reminding him of his own faraway innocence and purity of motive.
1.2Used euphemistically to refer to a person’s virginity: they’d avenge assaults on her innocence by others
More example sentences
  • She ran her hand through the water in mourning for her lost innocence, and her inability to fight him.
virginity, chastity, chasteness, purity;
integrity, morality, decency
dated honor
archaic virtue


in all innocence

Without knowledge of something’s significance or possible consequences: she knew the gift had been chosen in all innocence
More example sentences
  • I just hadn't thought about the route it would take to Northampton or the slow speed at which it would travel and felt terrible to be stuck in a situation that felt like ‘rubber necking’ despite it being in all innocence.
  • The people at the takeaway have done this in all innocence, but if the duplicity is taking place, if people are manufacturing things like this that contain nuts they are blatantly lying.
  • I asked him a question in all innocence - genuinely wanting to know the answer - and he thought, for some reason, I was trying to stir up trouble.
naiveté, ingenuousness, credulity, inexperience, gullibility, simplicity, unworldliness, guilelessness, greenness



( archaic)
Example sentences
  • For man by the Fall fell at the same time from his state of innocency and from his dominion over Creation.
  • They protested their innocency as in the presence of the great God, whom forthwith they were to appear before: they wished, and declared their wish, that their blood might be the last innocent blood shed upon that account.
  • In holding up a child as the model for the inheritor of the kingdom, Jesus does not appear to be idealizing the child for its innocency.


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin innocentia, from innocent- 'not harming' (based on nocere 'injure').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·no·cence

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