vi·​o·​late | \ ˈvī-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce violate (audio) \
violated; violating

Definition of violate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : break, disregard violate the law
2 : to do harm to the person or especially the chastity of specifically : rape sense 1
3 : to fail to show proper respect for : profane violate a shrine
4 : interrupt, disturb violate the peace of a spring evening— Nancy Larter


vi·​o·​late | \ ˈvī-ə-lət How to pronounce violate (audio) \

Definition of violate (Entry 2 of 2)

: subjected to violation

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Other Words from violate


violative \ vī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce violative (audio) \ adjective
violator \ vī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce violator (audio) \ noun

Examples of violate in a Sentence

Verb He was arrested for violating his parole. The company violated its customers' privacy. She was attacked and violated by an unknown intruder.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Because financial institutions’ decisions to curtail lending don’t necessarily violate the statute, the OCC is limited in its ability to push banks to provide credit to certain industries or projects, Mr. Stipano said. Christopher M. Matthews And Orla Mccaffrey, WSJ, "Banks’ Arctic Financing Retreat Rattles Oil Industry," 8 Oct. 2020 The department pointed to articles from Pro Publica and Politico that said the letters may not violate the federal law preventing electioneering by federal employees because the letters do not explicitly mention the election. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Unified removes Trump letters from food boxes, says they mislead on COVID," 7 Oct. 2020 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirms that this does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "The White House offers a lesson on how to notify employees about COVID exposure," 5 Oct. 2020 When posts on Facebook don’t violate policies but discuss voting more generally, the company labels it with additional information about the election process. Alyza Sebenius,, "Facebook, Twitter Are Failing to Curb Voting-By-Mail Falsehoods," 5 Oct. 2020 Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, said the video did not violate its policies. Mckenna Ewen, CNN, "A crease in Biden's shirt wrinkles the facts," 2 Oct. 2020 In 2001, the district said, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that an employer's designation of employee restrooms based on biological gender did not violate the human rights act. Anthony Lonetree, Star Tribune, "Appeals court rules against Anoka-Hennepin schools in 'landmark' bias case," 28 Sep. 2020 Investigators with the internal affairs department of the Williamson County Sheriff's Office determined that the deputies didn't violate pursuit or use-of-force policies. CBS News, "Sheriff indicted over destruction of video footage in Black man's fatal arrest," 28 Sep. 2020 The couple could not afford the flights, but needed to return to Australia by December to ensure that Mr. Khan’s wife did not violate her visa requirements. New York Times, "Stranded Overseas, Thousands Beg Australia to Let Them Come Home," 25 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Videos that do not clearly violate YouTube's polices -- that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content -- will appear with a warning and will not be able to gain revenue with ads. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Google, YouTube step up fight against online terrorism and extremism," 19 June 2017 Monday, May 22 Victim of violate domestic relations court order, 1500 block Montecito Road. Sunday, May 21 Female, 38, Ramona Sentinel, "Sheriff's Reports: Thief steals clothing from thrift store," 30 May 2017 On Friday, two government watchdog groups called for investigations into the payroll requests and stipend payments, which seemed to potentially violate state law related to knowingly offering false documents to government officials or agencies. Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "4 G.O.P. Senators in New York Also Got False Titles That Carry Extra Pay," 12 May 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for violate


Middle English, from Latin violatus, past participle of violare, from viol- (as in violentus violent)

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Time Traveler for violate

Time Traveler

The first known use of violate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for violate

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Violate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for violate


How to pronounce violate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of violate

: to do something that is not allowed by (a law, rule, etc.)
: to take away, interfere with, or ignore (something, such as a person's rights or privacy) in an unfair or illegal way
: to abuse or show disrespect for (something, such as a holy place) usually by damaging it


vi·​o·​late | \ ˈvī-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce violate (audio) \
violated; violating

Kids Definition of violate

1 : to fail to keep : break Students who violate the rules are punished.
2 : to treat in a very disrespectful way Vandals violated the shrine.
3 : disturb sense 1 Don't violate their privacy.

Other Words from violate

violator \ -​ˌlā-​tər \ noun
vi·​o·​late | \ ˈvī-ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce violate (audio) \
violated; violating

Legal Definition of violate

: to go against (as a prohibition or principle) : fail to observe or respect violate a law civil rights were violated violate due process

Other Words from violate

violation \ ˌvī-​ə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce violation (audio) \ noun
violative \ ˈvī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce violative (audio) \ adjective
violator \ ˈvī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce violator (audio) \ noun

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