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

His plan would create an alternative punishment program for nonviolent offenders, helping them find work and subjecting them to regular drug testing. Washington Post, "2 cities share name, but 1 is in big trouble," 6 July 2018 Hours before the Malibu wine tasting, President Trump had commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender, in part because of an in-person plea from Kim Kardashian West. Sheila Marikar, New York Times, "John Legend Plunges Into the Celebrity Rosé Business," 28 June 2018 Since the 1960s in the United States, most mainstream movements for social change have been explicitly nonviolent, and their main tactics have involved peaceful protests. Eric Markowitz, Newsweek, "The Most Dangerous Gay Man in America Fought Violence With Violence," 25 Jan. 2018 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

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

9 Nov 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

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