This song is, in my opinion, completely innocent of any logical coherence and must be interpreted emotionally.

In this sentence, I think "innocent" could be interpreted as "not at all, entirely lacking", right?

If you look at the Longman English Dictionary, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, there are only meanings associated with crime.

  • 4
    The cited usage is facetious (also somewhat pretentious). Normally (and logically), if someone/something is characterised as being completely innocent of any X, we should expect that X will be some "culpable activity" (wrongdoing, a bad thing). Another example: A parochial Tory, an orthodox Episcopalian, and completely innocent of any humor. Obviously having "logical coherence" or "humor" doesn't correlate with guilt, nor does the lack of them imply "innocence". Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 14:30
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica thankyou for the fantastic quote. I guess he was an unarmed comedian ... Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 14:46
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    @WillCrawford: Given that For the English, humour is a weapon, perhaps we should be locking up people like Ricky Gervais (which should save the police a lot of work, since they're much easier to find than armed terrorists!). But if you think you're 'ard enough, check out Monty Python's "Funniest Joke In The World". (That one still killed me a couple of nights ago! :) Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 16:32
  • You haven't checked the oxford english dictionary. It fills 20 large volumes, and traces each word back through history. You might have looked at the Oxford Advanced Learner's dictionary which is usually a much more useful dictionary in most cases
    – James K
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


You are correct, it means "entirely lacking" but carries a slight sense of humour: if it was logical it would be "guilty of making sense".

OED gives innocent of as "Free from; devoid of" with a humourous sense. The earliest recorded use in 1706 is very similar to your quotation:

The Opera .. Enrich'd with songs, but innocent of thought (J. Addison Rosamond)

A similar construction is "untroubled by":

[This politician] is as untroubled by facts as by logic (The Guardian).

  • 1
    This is of course the correct answer - I think the ones that simply go for the dictionary definition, miss the real question behind the question.
    – j4nd3r53n
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 8:35
  • This answer is too brief to be understood by English learners. Can you explain it a bit better? Short answers tend to be flagged as "low quality" for review.
    – user103227
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 9:46
  • @FrankTownend I've expanded it a bit, perhaps that helps.
    – jonathanjo
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 10:03

You should check more dictionaries. I have heard of Longman's dictionary, but it certainly isn't the top choice. For British English, always check Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries. I believe Google uses Oxford as default. For American English, check Websters.

Oxford has the following as a primary definition for "innocent":

without; lacking.
"a street quite innocent of bookshops"

So, your example means that the song was "lacking" any logical coherence.

As "innocent" can also means that someone is naive, in this context there is a further implied meaning that the songwriter is perhaps unaware that their words lack coherence, and so is something of a jibe at their lack of ability or experience.

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    The only reason to check the Cambridge dictionary is because it is available online. The definitive dictionary of the English language is the Oxford English Dictionary (which has always aimed to cover American English as well as British English). As a partisan graduate of Cambridge, this makes me sad. Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 13:43
  • @MartinBonnersupportsMonica 'Lexico' online dictionary is apparently powered by Oxford.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 13:56
  • 3
    Lexico is the new name for what was previously the free service at oxforddictionaries.com. The full original OED is at OED.com, and is a subscription service. There's also Oxford Premium which is a different subscription service. All in all it's a confusing mess.
    – barbecue
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 14:50
  • Another interpretation of innocent in this context seems to be that the author thinks logical coherence would not add value to the song. The song would be "innocent" of trying to achieve that. The rest of the quote seems to back that up, as the author claims that the song speaks on an emotional level instead (and therefore does not require logical coherence). More context to the quote, and whether the review is overall good or bad, might help determine the author's intention.
    – 17slim
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 16:27
  • @MartinBonnersupportsMonica Traditionally - although not necessarily accurately - Oxford has been seen as slightly 'better' at the Humanities (I.e. English, History, Journalism - all the things that go into producing an Encyclopaedia, Dictionary or Thesaurus), with Cambridge for Mathematics or the Sciences. This may pay a part in that. (Also, no love for Glasgow's "Collins English Dictionary"? Especially with regards Scrabble!) Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 16:38

The word "innocent" means "An innocent person is someone who is not involved with any military group or war", or the second meaning is "having no knowledge of the unpleasant and evil things in life:, or "not intended to harm anyone".

Resource from Cambridge dictionary

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    This is a different meaning of the word than what the question is asking.
    – Cody
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 23:59
  • This seems like an "answer" to the title alone rather than the question. Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 10:50

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