Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, as:
  • n. Freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil.
  • n. Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense.
  • n. Freedom from guile, cunning, or deceit; simplicity or artlessness.
  • n. Lack of worldliness or sophistication; naiveté.
  • n. Lack of knowledge or understanding; ignorance.
  • n. Freedom from harmfulness; inoffensiveness.
  • n. One that is innocent.
  • n. Botany See blue-eyed Mary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Absence of responsibility for a crime.
  • n. Lack of understanding about sensitive subjects such as sexuality and crime.
  • n. Lack of ability or intention to harm or damage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state or quality of being innocent; freedom from that which is harmful or infurious; harmlessness.
  • n. The state or quality of being morally free from guilt or sin; purity of heart; blamelessness.
  • n. The state or quality of being not chargeable for, or guilty of, a particular crime or offense.
  • n. Simplicity or plainness, bordering on weakness or silliness; artlessness; ingenuousness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Harmlessness; innoxiousness: as, the innocence of a neutral article of diet in disease.
  • n. Freedom from moral wrong; untainted purity of heart and life; unimpaired integrity; sinlessness; artlessness: as, the innocence of childhood; angelic innocence.
  • n. Freedom from legal or specific wrong; absence of particular guilt or taint; guiltlessness: as, the prisoner proved his innocence.
  • n. Freedom from legal taint; absence of illegality: said of things, particularly of property that might be contraband of war: as, the innocence of a cargo or of merchandise.
  • n. Simplemindedness; mental imbecility; want of knowledge or of sense; ignorance or idiocy.
  • n. The bluet, Houstonia cærulea. See Houstonia.
  • n. A pretty American scrophulariaceous plant, Collinsia verna, the flowers of which have the lower lip blue and the upper purple or nearly white.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a state or condition of being innocent of a specific crime or offense
  • n. the quality of innocent naivete
  • n. the state of being unsullied by sin or moral wrong; lacking a knowledge of evil

Etymologies

French innocence, from Latin innocens ("harmless, inoffensive"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It removes more than half my misfortune; and I feel as if I could die in peace, now that my innocence is acknowledged by you, dear lady, and your cousin.

    Chapter 7

  • Describing his nine nights in jail as "solitary confinement in the bottom of a Victorian prison," he thanked his attorneys and supporters, including the prominent backers who posted his bail, before vowing to continue WikiLeaks' work as he tries to prove what he described as his innocence in the sex-crime cases.

    WikiLeaks founder Assange released on bail

  • And then we release them months later when their innocence is apparent.

    Think Progress » Bush Misleads on Progress in Iraq

  • The word innocence is composed of in - 'not' and nocere

    Kenzaburo Oe - Nobel Lecture

  • How that dark grey stuff was the molten stones and refuse which remained after the metal had been cleared, and then he laughed at what he called my innocence, as I asked him if the ingots, as he called the square masses which now looked quite white, were silver.

    Devon Boys A Tale of the North Shore

  • Mrs. Freakley laughed at what she called the innocence of the Child of Nature. — “No fear, Jemima, my love,” said she, “but what you will have offers enough — whether you will get a good husband is the question.”

    Lovers and Friends; or, Modern Attachments

  • If, as Dr. Piper suggests, the appeal of this kind of innocence is in fact a reaction to September 11, it would seem to have less to do with a return to “traditional values” than with the quintessentially American belief in the moral purity of ignorance (of which, sadly, our president is again the most apt example).

    Production Values

  • Yet she appeared confident in innocence, and did not tremble, although gazed on and execrated by thousands; for all the kindness which her beauty might otherwise have excited, was obliterated in the minds of the spectators by the imagination of the enormity she was supposed to have committed.

    Chapter 7

  • It strikes out when attacked but otherwise is much like the village idiot in innocence and ability to perceive.

    How Witch Hunts Came to Be « Colleen Anderson

  • American innocence or rather, Americans’ conception of their own innocence is a major theme here, especially as it plays out in the relationship between Brik and his American neurosurgeon wife, Mary.

    Aleksandar Hemon discusses The Lazarus Project

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