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 violate (audio) \ adjective
violator \ vī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce violate (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 The incursions did not violate Taiwan's sovereign airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from its coast. Eric Cheung, CNN, 10 Oct. 2021 In 2003, the Court restated that affirmative action — under narrow circumstances — did not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause. Adam M. Carrington, National Review, 3 Oct. 2021 Low-quality products don’t necessarily violate its policies. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 The Department of Justice sued the state last year, alleging that violent conditions in men’s prisons violate the Constitution. Mike Cason |, al, 27 Sep. 2021 Did the Republicans on the panel – Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Auditor Keith Faber, House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman – violate the very document that they were sworn to uphold? John Caniglia, cleveland, 21 Sep. 2021 Neutral and generally applicable mask mandates and vaccine requirements do not violate the Civil Rights Act. Devon Link, USA TODAY, 15 Sep. 2021 This is either unconstitutional, if indeed Congress has delegated essentially legislative powers to these executive agencies, that would violate the non-delegation doctrine which, alas, has been dormant for a long time in the Court. NBC News, 12 Sep. 2021 Videos that violate the rules — for instance, by claiming that vaccines cause cancer, autism or are otherwise dangerous — will be deleted. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2021 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, 19 June 2017 Monday, May 22 Victim of violate domestic relations court order, 1500 block Montecito Road. Sunday, May 21 Female, 38, Ramona Sentinel, 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, 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

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

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Violate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for violate



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


transitive verb
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 violate (audio) \ noun
violative \ ˈvī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce violate (audio) \ adjective
violator \ ˈvī-​ə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce violate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on violate

Nglish: Translation of violate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of violate for Arabic Speakers


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