non·​vi·​o·​lent | \ ˌnän-ˈvī-ə-lənt How to pronounce nonviolent (audio) \

Definition of nonviolent

: abstaining or free from violence

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from nonviolent

nonviolently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for nonviolent


peaceable, peaceful


forced, violent

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of nonviolent in a Sentence

He argued that nonviolent drug offenders should receive shorter sentences.

Recent Examples on the Web

Here’s a grandmother who took part in her first-time nonviolent offense and received the same sentence as Charles Manson. Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, "The Awakening of Kim Kardashian West," 10 Apr. 2019 The report cited a range of other human-rights issues in Saudi Arabia, including executions for nonviolent offenses, forced renditions and disappearances, torture of prisoners and a lack of civil and religious rights. ... Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "State Department Rights Report Blames Saudis in Death of Khashoggi," 13 Mar. 2019 Beinart said he was then asked about his participation in a nonviolent West Bank protest two years ago. Josef Federman, The Seattle Times, "Israel detains prominent Jewish-American critic at airport," 13 Aug. 2018 Mink's nonviolent protest was all over cable news that night, and the ensuing rise of public outrage undoubtedly contributed to the pressure for Pruitt to peace out., "Scott Pruitt Resigns From EPA Days After Woman Publicly Confronted Him About Corruption," 5 July 2018 White resistance to the movement’s nonviolent protests was virulent, and King was struck in the head with a rock during one such march. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Moments From American History That Matter Right Now," 28 June 2018 Outsiders and former employees say the practice of putting violent and nonviolent groups on the same list allows Dees and his cohorts to exaggerate the number, power and threat of hate groups. Sven Berg, idahostatesman, "These churches are "hate groups," a watchdog says. But what's really behind that label?," 24 Apr. 2018 Pashinian immediately called for mass acts of nonviolent, civil disobedience across the city. Sabra Ayres,, "Armenia contemplates the unlikely: a nonviolent revolution on the cusp of victory," 8 May 2018 This affects a wide group of people, down to Floridians convicted of certain traffic crimes and nonviolent offenses. German Lopez, Vox, "One in 10 potential Florida voters can’t legally vote. Amendment 4 could change that.," 6 Nov. 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.

See More

First Known Use of nonviolent

1905, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nonviolent

Statistics for nonviolent

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nonviolent

The first known use of nonviolent was in 1905

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nonviolent



English Language Learners Definition of nonviolent

: not using or involving violence

More from Merriam-Webster on nonviolent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nonviolent

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).


behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!