AskDefine | Define innocence

Dictionary Definition



1 the quality of innocent naivete [syn: artlessness, ingenuousness, naturalness]
2 the state of being free from sin or moral wrong; lacking a knowledge of evil [syn: purity, sinlessness]
3 a state or condition of being innocent of a specific crime or offense; "the trial established his innocence" [ant: guilt]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Absence of responsibility for a crime.
    Her attorney managed to convince the jury of her innocence.
  2. Lack of understanding about sensitive subjects such as sexuality and crime.
    In his innocence, he offered the stranger to bring the package to Paris, never suspecting it contained drugs.
  3. Lack of ability or intention to harm or damage.
    Tests have demonstrated the innocence of this substance.

Related terms


absence of responsibility for a crime
lack of understanding about sensitive subjects such as sexuality and crime
lack of ability or intention to harm or damage

Extensive Definition

Innocence is a term that describes the lack of guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime. It may also be used to indicate a general lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. Its antonym is corruption.
It can also refer to a state of unknowing, where one's experience is lesser, in either a relative view to social peers, or by an absolute comparison to a more common normative scale. In contrast to ignorance, it is generally viewed as a positive term, connoting a blissfully positive view of the world, in particular one where the lack of knowledge stems from a lack of wrongdoing, whereas greater knowledge comes from doing wrong. This connotation may be connected with a popular false etymology explaining "innocent" as meaning "not knowing" (Latin noscere).
People who lack the mental capacity to understand the nature of their acts may be regarded as innocent regardless of their behavior. From this meaning comes the term innocent to refer to a child under the age of reason, or a person, of any age, who is severely mentally disabled.
In some cases, the term of "innocence" connotes a pejorative meaning, where an assumed level of experience dictates common discourse or baseline qualifications for entry into another, different, social experience. Since experience is the prime factor in determining a person's point of view, innocence is often also used to imply an ignorance or lack of personal experience.
innocence in German: Unschuld
innocence in Spanish: Inocencia
innocence in French: Innocence (caractère)
innocence in Russian: Невинность
innocence in Simple English: Innocence

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1