non·​vi·​o·​lence | \ ˌnän-ˈvī-ə-lən(t)s \

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

Even when the press had turned against him, when black people turned against him and saw nonviolence as soft, and whites saw him as a communist. Salamishah Tillet, New York Times, "Seeing Martin Luther King Jr. in a New Light," 1 Apr. 2018 King, the prince of nonviolence, received steady streams of criticism from politicians, journalists and clergy for engaging in peaceful demonstrations that, by stoking the anger of white supremacists, threatened to turn violent at any moment. Peniel E. Joseph, Washington Post, "America’s nonviolent civil rights movement was considered uncivil by critics at the time," 4 July 2018 But the overwhelming majority recommitted themselves to nonviolence and, as his health rapidly deteriorated, Chavez determined the fast had been successful. USA TODAY, "A movement for 'America's promise'," 21 May 2018 He was put on probation, placed in a domestic nonviolence program and ordered to undergo a mental health screening. Washington Post, "Suspected killer had history of abuse, mental health issues," 6 June 2018 He was put on probation, placed in a domestic nonviolence program and ordered to undergo a mental health screening. Fox News, "Suspected killer had history of abuse, mental health issues," 6 June 2018 On Sunday, Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson spoke to parishioners about the release of unspecified video footage during a program for a nonviolence initiative at a Milwaukee church. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "Officers involved in arrest of NBA's Sterling Brown disciplined, police chief says," 23 May 2018 Not far away sat a booth dedicated to nonviolence and gender equality. Samantha West, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eaux Claires Day 1 recap: The 'mystery' lineup is released, and some reply, 'Meh'," 6 July 2018 The campaign emphasizes nonviolence, and violent tactics aren’t tolerated, according to a list of principles posted on the main campaign website. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Police arrest 7 in downtown Seattle during march calling for social change," 24 June 2018

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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Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for nonviolence

The first known use of nonviolence was in 1831

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on nonviolence

Spanish Central: Translation of nonviolence

Nglish: Translation of nonviolence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nonviolence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nonviolence

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