non·vi·o·lent | \ˌnän-ˈvī-ə-lənt \

Definition of nonviolent 

: abstaining or free from violence

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Other Words from nonviolent

nonviolently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for nonviolent


peaceable, peaceful


forced, violent

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Examples of nonviolent in a Sentence

He argued that nonviolent drug offenders should receive shorter sentences.

Recent Examples on the Web

About 600 women were arrested on Thursday during a nonviolent civil disobedience action organized by the Women’s March in partnership with Center for Popular Democracy Action and CASA in Action. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Families Belong Together protest planned for Washington, DC, and hundreds of other cities," 29 June 2018 The act of nonviolent civil disobedience, organized by the Women’s March, started at the DoJ, where women blockaded the building’s entrance during the lunch hour. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Capitol Police Arrest More Than 600 Women Chanting ‘Abolish ICE’," 28 June 2018 In a study of insurgencies from 1900 to 2006, scholars Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan found that campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts. The Christian Science Monitor, "A nonviolent movement challenges Pakistan’s military," 22 June 2018 Few analysts suggest that Hamas — which over the years has used suicide bombers, missiles and attack tunnels against Israel — may actually be considering abandoning its long armed struggle in favor of nonviolent resistance. Hana Salah,, "For Hamas, the deadly protests against Israel are a welcome diversion," 25 May 2018 In their book Why Civil Resistance Works, Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth found that nonviolent resistance is more than twice as effective as violent activism. Mari Uyehara, GQ, "How Free Speech Warriors Mainstreamed White Supremacists," 8 May 2018 Residents, activists, and the artists had deemed King's philosophy of nonviolent resistance not militant enough, preferring figures like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Jeff Huebner, Chicago Reader, "What ever happened to the King Memorial Mural at 43rd and Langley?," 24 Apr. 2018 King understood the power of images then, as his message of nonviolent resistance beamed into homes across the nation. Alex Horton,, "Before video of a Starbucks arrest, images of lunch counter sit-ins helped launch a movement," 17 Apr. 2018 While many will focus on King’s nonviolent resistance as the benchmark of his legacy, few recognize the unbridled, unchecked, unrepentant racial hate that haunted him until his death. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Died Because of Hatred. That Should Not Be Whitewashed," 4 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonviolent.' 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 nonviolent

1905, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for nonviolent

The first known use of nonviolent was in 1905

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English Language Learners Definition of nonviolent

: not using or involving violence

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Spanish Central: Translation of nonviolent

Comments on nonviolent

What made you want to look up nonviolent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to teach someone the beliefs of a group

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