Innocence is a term used to indicate a state of moral purity or general lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. Its antonym is corruption. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime.

Innocence 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"). The actual etymology is from general negation prefix "in-" and the Latin "nocere", "evil" or "guilty".

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.

The lamb is a commonly used symbol of innocence. In Christianity, for example, Jesus is referred to as the "Lamb of God", thus emphasizing his sinless nature. [cite book|title=Freemasonry: Its Symbolism, Religious Nature, and Law of Perfection|first=Chalmers Izett|last=Paton|publisher=Reeves and Turner|year=1873|pages=232–240] Other symbols of innocence include children, virgins, acacia branches (especially in Freemasonry), [cite book|title=The Numismatist|publisher=American Numismatic Association|year=1901|pages=177] nudity, and the color white. [cite book|title=The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge|publisher=Encyclopedia Americana Corp.|year=1918|pages=329]


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  • innocence — [ inɔsɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1120; lat. innocentia → innocent 1 ♦ État de l être qui n est pas souillé par le mal, qui est incapable de le commettre. ⇒ pureté. Le blanc, symbole de l innocence. L innocence d un enfant. ♢ État d une personne qui ignore le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Innocence — «Innocence» Sencillo de Björk del álbum Volta Formato Descarga Natural Grabación 2006 Género(s) Electrónica/alternativo Duración …   Wikipedia Español

  • Innocence 1/2 — Innocence (épisode Buffy) Innocence Épisode de Buffy contre les vampires Titre original Surprise (partie 1) et Innocence (partie 2) Numéro d épisode Saison 2 Épisode 13 et épisode 14 Réalisation Michael Lange, Joss Whedon Scénario …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Innocence 2/2 — Innocence (épisode Buffy) Innocence Épisode de Buffy contre les vampires Titre original Surprise (partie 1) et Innocence (partie 2) Numéro d épisode Saison 2 Épisode 13 et épisode 14 Réalisation Michael Lange, Joss Whedon Scénario …   Wikipédia en Français

  • innocence — Innocence. s. f. Estat de celuy qui est innocent & exempt de crime. On a reconnu son innocence. innocence persecutée. il a conservé son innocence dans les occasions les plus dangereuses. il n a pas encore perdu son innocence baptismale. dans la… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Innocence — steht für: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, japanischer Film Innocence Project, US amerikanische Non Profit Organisation Harem – The Loss of Innocence, Rebell der Wüste Film von William Hale (1986) Innocence (2004), französischer Film Innocence… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Innocence — In no*cence, n. [F. innocence, L. innocentia. See {Innocent}.] 1. The state or quality of being innocent; freedom from that which is harmful or infurious; harmlessness. [1913 Webster] 2. The state or quality of being morally free from guilt or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • innocence — in·no·cence / i nə səns/ n: freedom from fault or guilt under the law: as a: the state of not being guilty of a particular crime or offense compare guilt b: the state of not being guilty of an act that constitutes a ground for divorce c:… …   Law dictionary

  • innocence — (n.) mid 14c., freedom from guilt, from O.Fr. inocence innocence, purity, chastity (12c.), from L. innocentia, from innocens harmless, blameless (see INNOCENT (Cf. innocent)). Meaning lacking in guile or artifice is from late 14c …   Etymology dictionary

  • innocence — [n1] blamelessness chastity, clean hands*, clear conscience*, guiltlessness, immaculateness, impeccability, incorruptibility, incorruption, inculpability, probity, purity, righteousness, sinlessness, stainlessness, uprightness, virtue; concept… …   New thesaurus

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