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

Kardashian West had gone to the White House to plead the case of Alice Marie Johnson, a woman who’d served more than two decades in prison on nonviolent drug charges. Jessica Chou, Glamour, "Shawn Holley Will Free You Now," 11 Dec. 2018 The draft standards no longer include a prohibition on housing nonviolent detainees with violent offenders, Mr. Landy said. Heidi Vogt, WSJ, "ICE Drafts Guidelines With Fewer Restrictions on Restraining Pregnant Women," 21 Dec. 2018 How can women wield the full force of these nonviolent arms in 2018? Rebekka Ayres, Teen Vogue, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Destroyed Shoes Are Now a Historical Artifact," 30 Nov. 2018 The players mentioned how Trump recently padoned Alice Johnson, 63, for who was serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug crime. Jenna West,, "Malcolm Jenkins, Players Coalition Members Address Trump's Pardon Request," 21 June 2018 On June 29, 2017, Tureko Straughter’s 15-year-old son was booked into a juvenile detention center after being arrested for a nonviolent property crime, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Black Teen Incarcerated For Days Despite No Probable Cause After Judge's Release Order: Lawsuit," 20 June 2018 City Council members unanimously passed two resolutions last week that will restrict police attempts to question immigrants about their status and curtail arrests for nonviolent crimes. Jaweed Kaleem,, "'Freedom city'? Going beyond 'sanctuary,' Austin, Texas, vows to curtail arrests," 19 June 2018 Courtesy of the family The crash has sent shock waves through the community and raised questions about the Independence Police Department's decision to engage in a high-speed chase for a nonviolent crime. Katie Bernard And Aaron Randle, kansascity, "Owner of Jeep that fled Independence police knows who stole SUV before fatal crash," 5 June 2018 The threat of collective family punishment hung over all efforts at resistance, including the nonviolent kind. Megan Koreman, WSJ, "Five Best: Megan Koreman on the Cost of Courage Under Nazism," 25 Oct. 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

19 Jan 2019

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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 gather or build up little by little

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