Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  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
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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]
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. The condition of being chaste:
2. The condition of being uninformed or unaware:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˈɪnəsns] Ninocencia f
in all innocencecon toda inocencia, de la forma más inocente
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈɪnəsəns] n
(LAW)innocence f
to protest one's innocence → protester de son innocence
(= naivety) [person, child] → innocence f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Unschuld f; to feign innocencevorgeben, unschuldig zu sein, unschuldig tun; in all innocencein aller Unschuld
(liter, = ignorance) → Unkenntnis f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈɪnəsns] ninnocenza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
It was to be decided whether the result of my curiosity and lawless devices would cause the death of two of my fellow beings: one a smiling babe full of innocence and joy, the other far more dreadfully murdered, with every aggravation of infamy that could make the murder memorable in horror.
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.
Feeling bound, after what had passed in my presence that afternoon, to assert the innocence of my admirable friend, whenever I found it called in question--I own to having also felt bound to include in the accomplishment of this righteous purpose, a stinging castigation in the case of Mr.
On the contrary, I declare, that to recommend goodness and innocence hath been my sincere endeavour in this history.
Well, it may sound an odd thing to say, but what impressed me most of all was the absolute innocence of the place.
In its artless consciousness of innocence the look was nothing less than sublime.
The one feeling that it roused in me now was a longing to see my husband--to throw myself into his arms, and tell him how firmly I believed in his innocence, how truly and dearly I loved him.
The Age of Innocence first appeared in four large installments in The Pictorial Review, from July to October 1920.
Then in the increasing gale of the sea there would be a little private ship's storm going on in which you could detect strong language, pronounced in a tone of passion and exculpatory protestations uttered with every possible inflection of injured innocence.
Blood they would have from thee in all innocence; blood their bloodless souls crave for--and they sting, therefore, in all innocence.
In vain he declared his innocence; he was dismissed with no better answer.
Eureka is the sweet pet of a lovely little girl whom we all admire, and gentleness and innocence are her chief virtues.