non·​vi·​o·​lence | \ ˌnän-ˈvī-ə-lən(t)s How to pronounce nonviolence (audio) \

Definition of nonviolence

1 : abstention from violence as a matter of principle also : the principle of such abstention
2a : the quality or state of being nonviolent : avoidance of violence
b : nonviolent demonstrations for the purpose of securing political ends

Examples of nonviolence in a Sentence

Demonstration organizers are urging nonviolence.
Recent Examples on the Web Rice’s attorneys sought leniency from U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, arguing the nun’s devotion to Christian nonviolence posed little threat to the public. NBC News, 18 Oct. 2021 Rice's attorneys sought leniency from U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar, arguing the nun's devotion to Christian nonviolence posed little threat to the public. CBS News, 17 Oct. 2021 By 1964, nonviolence seemed to have run its course, as Harlem and Philadelphia ignited in flames to protest police brutality, poverty, and exclusion, in what were denounced as riots. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 24 June 2021 The Summertown, Tennessee commune simply called The Farm, founded in 1971 by roughly 300 flower children, now has about 200 members whose values continue to be nonviolence and environmental protection. Russell Flannery, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2021 The show teaches in vivid pictorial form the now far-too-long-running lesson of meeting hatred and violence with nonviolence and grace., 9 Apr. 2021 Speakers at events have called for nonviolence and said those who damage property or are disrespectful should leave. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 May 2021 On Monday, law enforcement officials in L.A. held a news conference alongside community faith leaders to call for nonviolence during any protests after the trial verdict. Leila Miller Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2021 Despite the public’s seeming ambivalence toward King—and his family’s calls for nonviolence—his murder sparked violent protests across the country. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonviolence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nonviolence

1831, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of nonviolence was in 1831

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nonviolence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of nonviolence

: the practice of refusing to respond to anything (such as unfair or violent acts by a government) with violence


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