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1. The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, especially:
a. Freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil.
b. Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense.
c. Freedom from guile, cunning, or deceit; simplicity or artlessness.
d. Lack of worldliness or sophistication; naiveté.
2. One that is innocent.


the quality or state of being innocent. Archaic word: innocency
[C14: from Latin innocentia harmlessness, from innocēns doing no harm, blameless, from in-1 + nocēns harming, from nocēre to hurt, harm; see noxious]


(ˈɪn ə səns)

1. the quality or state of being innocent; freedom from sin or moral wrong.
2. freedom from legal or specific wrong.
3. simplicity; absence of guile or cunning; naiveté.
4. lack of knowledge or understanding.
5. harmlessness.
6. chastity.
7. an innocent person or thing.
[1300–50; Middle English < Latin]




  1. Green as apples —Sumner Locke Elliott
  2. Guileless as old Huck —Richard Ford
  3. Guiltless forever, like a tree —Robert Browning
  4. Innocence is like an umbrella: when once we’ve lost it we must never hope to see it back again —Punch
  5. (Catherine’s) innocence shone like an icon —Rita Mae Brown
  6. Innocent and affectionate as a child —W. H. Hudson
  7. Innocent and artless, like the growth of a flower —Isak Dinesen
  8. Innocent as a baby —Anon
  9. Innocent as a child unborn —Anon

    Jonathan Swift who used the phrase in Directions to Servants is often credited as its author.

  10. (I was a neophyte about as) innocent as a choirboy being asked to conduct a solemn mass at the Vatican —Alistair Cooke, New York Times interview, January 19, 1986
  11. Innocent as a curl —Clarence Major
  12. Innocent as a devil of two years old —Jonathan Swift
  13. Innocent as a game —Frank Tuohy
  14. Innocent as a new-laid egg —W. S. Gilbert
  15. Innocent as a snowflake —Anne Sexton
  16. (Gaze as) innocent as a teddy bear —Babs H. Deal
  17. Innocent as a tourist’s Kodak —William Mcllvanney
  18. Innocent, like a hornet that has been disarmed —Jean Stafford
  19. (Sat there as) innocently as small boys confiding to each other the names of toy animals —Henry James
  20. Innocuous as flowers afloat in a pond —John Updike
  21. Perennial innocence like a chicken in a pen —William Faulkner
  22. She was like a young tree whose branches had never been touched by the ruthless hand of man —Katherine Mansfield
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.innocence - the quality of innocent naiveteinnocence - the quality of innocent naivete  
naiveness, naivete, naivety - lack of sophistication or worldliness
innocency - an innocent quality or thing or act; "the innocencies of childhood"
2.innocence - the state of being unsullied by sin or moral wrong; lacking a knowledge of evil
condition, status - a state at a particular time; "a condition (or state) of disrepair"; "the current status of the arms negotiations"
cleanness - without moral defects
3.innocence - a state or condition of being innocent of a specific crime or offense; "the trial established his innocence"
condition, status - a state at a particular time; "a condition (or state) of disrepair"; "the current status of the arms negotiations"
clear - the state of being free of suspicion; "investigation showed that he was in the clear"
guilt, guiltiness - the state of having committed an offense


2. blamelessness, righteousness, clean hands, uprightness, sinlessness, irreproachability, guiltlessness He claims to have evidence which could prove his innocence.
blamelessness guilt, sinfulness, corruption, impurity, offensiveness, wrongness
3. chastity, virtue, purity, modesty, virginity, celibacy, continence, maidenhood, stainlessness She can still evoke the innocence of 14-year-old Juliet.
4. ignorance, oblivion, lack of knowledge, inexperience, unfamiliarity, greenness, unawareness, nescience (literary) 'Maybe innocence is bliss,' he suggested.
"He's armed without that's innocent within" [Alexander Pope Epilogue to the Satires]
"Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others" [La Rochefoucauld Maxims]
"Whoever blushes is already guilty; true innocence is ashamed of nothing" [Jean Jacques Rousseau Émile]
"It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't" [Mignon McLaughlin The Neurotic's Notebook]


1. The condition of being chaste:
2. The condition of being uninformed or unaware:


[ˈɪnəsns] Ninocencia f
in all innocencecon toda inocencia, de la forma más inocente


[ˈɪnəsəns] n
(LAW)innocence f
to protest one's innocence → protester de son innocence
(= naivety) [person, child] → innocence f


Unschuld f; to feign innocencevorgeben, unschuldig zu sein, unschuldig tun; in all innocencein aller Unschuld
(liter, = ignorance) → Unkenntnis f


[ˈɪnəsns] ninnocenza


(ˈinəsnt) adjective
1. not guilty (of a crime, misdeed etc). A man should be presumed innocent of a crime until he is proved guilty; They hanged an innocent man.
2. (of an action etc) harmless or without harmful or hidden intentions. innocent games and amusements; an innocent remark.
3. free from, or knowing nothing about, evil etc. an innocent child; You can't be so innocent as to believe what advertisements say!
ˈinnocently adverb
ˈinnocence noun
He at last managed to prove his innocence; the innocence of a child.
References in classic literature ?
Quite a pastoral state of innocence all round," returned Miss Belle with a shrug.
Yes, sweet innocence," whispered the youth; "Duncan is here, and while life continues or danger remains, he will never quit thee.
You will make me and Christie so nervous that we will not dare to open the door to a visitor, until he declares his innocence of any matrimonial intentions.
His own death, so like that former one, yet attended by none of those suspicious circumstances, seems the stroke of God upon him, at once a punishment for his wickedness, and making plain the innocence of Clifford, But this flight,--it distorts everything
Such was his sense of power over this virgin soul, trusting him as she did, that the minister felt potent to blight all the field of innocence with but one wicked look, and develop all its opposite with but a word.
It would have been impossible to carry a bad name with a greater sweetness of innocence, and by the time I had got back to Bly with him I remained merely bewildered--so far, that is, as I was not outraged-- by the sense of the horrible letter locked up in my room, in a drawer.
The natural thing for the officer to do, in this case, was to follow straight on my heels; he would find a stout oaken door, securely locked, be- tween him and me; before he could break it down, I should be far away and engaged in slipping into a suc- cession of baffling disguises which would soon get me into a sort of raiment which was a surer protection from meddling law-dogs in Britain than any amount of mere innocence and purity of character.
Abner himself avowed his complete innocence, and told the neighbors how a red-haired man with a hare lip and a pepper-and- salt suit of clothes had called him up one morning about daylight and offered to swap him a good sleigh for an old cider press he had layin' out in the dooryard.
Had he been a man of pure morals himself, he might have been thought interested in protecting the innocence of my aunt; but those who knew him will not suspect him of any such virtue.
Elinor would not contend, and only replied, "Whoever may have been so detestably your enemy, let them be cheated of their malignant triumph, my dear sister, by seeing how nobly the consciousness of your own innocence and good intentions supports your spirits.
Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence (if innocent we be: as I know you are of this charge which Mr.
From that day forth -when a past which he abhorred was forced back to his memory; when a future which she had never dared to anticipate was placed within her reach -- you will soon perceive, if you have not perceived already, that they both betrayed themse lves, time after time; and that you r innocence of all suspicion, and their children's innocence of all suspicion, alone prevented you from discovering the truth.