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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Innocence


IN'NOCENCE

IN'NOCENCY, noun [Latin innocentia; in and noceo, to hurt.]

1. Properly, freedom from any quality that can injure; innoxiousness; harmlessness; as the innocence of a medicine which can do no harm. In this sense, the noun is not obsolete, though less used than the adjective.

2. In a moral sense, freedom from crime, sin or guilt; untainted purity of heart and life; unimpaired integrity.

Enjoyment left nothing to ask--innocence left nothing to fear.

3. Freedom from guilt or evil intentions; simplicity of heart; as the innocence of a child.

4. Freedom from the guilt of a particular sin or crime. This is the sense in which the word is most generally used, for perfect innocence cannot be predicated of man. A man charged with theft or murder may prove his innocence

5. The state of being lawfully conveyed to a belligerent, or of not being contraband; as the innocence of a cargo, or of any merchandize.