Origin of innocent

1150–1200; Middle English < Latin innocent- (stem of innocēns) harmless, equivalent to in- in-3 + nocēns present participle of nocēre to harm; see -ent; cf. noxious
Related formsin·no·cent·ly, adverbqua·si-in·no·cent, adjectivequa·si-in·no·cent·ly, adverbsu·per·in·no·cent, adjectivesu·per·in·no·cent·ly, adverbun·in·no·cent, adjectiveun·in·no·cent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedacquitted innocent nolo contendere (see synonym study at the current entry)innocence innocents

Synonyms for innocent

1. sinless, virtuous; faultless, impeccable, spotless, immaculate. 2. Innocent, blameless, guiltless imply freedom from the responsibility of having done wrong. Innocent may imply having done no wrong at any time, and having not even a knowledge of evil: an innocent victim. Blameless denotes freedom from blame, especially moral blame: a blameless life. Guiltless denotes freedom from guilt or responsibility for wrongdoing, usually in a particular instance: guiltless of a crime. 6. simple, naive, unsophisticated, artless.

Antonyms for innocent

1, 2. guilty. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for innocently

kindly, politely, naively

Examples from the Web for innocently

Contemporary Examples of innocently

Historical Examples of innocently

  • "You first, professor," said Yates; and Tim innocently offered him the vessel.

  • "I expect to be as gay as a cricket," returned Mrs. Blair, innocently.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • "I've no one to teach me," said Betty, innocently phrasing a long-felt want.

  • "He's an awfully good chap, you know," said Vernon innocently.

  • “I wish you would tell me why you have come here,” I inquired, innocently.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for innocently



not corrupted or tainted with evil or unpleasant emotion; sinless; pure
not guilty of a particular crime; blameless
(postpositive foll by of) free (of); lackinginnocent of all knowledge of history
  1. harmless or innocuousan innocent game
  2. not cancerousan innocent tumour
credulous, naive, or artless
simple-minded; slow-witted


an innocent person, esp a young child or an ingenuous adult
a simple-minded person; simpleton
Derived Formsinnocently, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for innocently

c.1400, from innocent (adj.) + -ly (2).



mid-14c., "doing no evil, free from sin or guilt," from Old French inocent "harmless; not guilty; pure" (11c.), from Latin innocentem (nominative innocens) "not guilty, harmless, blameless," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + nocentem (nominative nocens), present participle of nocere "to harm" (see noxious). Meaning "free from guilt of a specific crime or charge" is from late 14c. The earliest use was as a noun, "person who is innocent of sin or evil" (c.1200). The Holy Innocents (early 14c.) were the young children slain by Herod sfter the birth of Jesus (Matt. ii:16).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

innocently in Medicine




Not apparently harmful; benign.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.