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 Stisher had been indicted on a felony charge of violating Alabama’s ethics law but reached a deal with the state attorney general’s office to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Morgan County commissioner pleads guilty to violating state ethics law," 4 Nov. 2019 The resident claims his free speech and political expression rights were violated by Mayor James Graven and the city. John Benson, cleveland, "Olmsted Falls responds with motion to dismiss in resident’s lawsuit against mayor and city," 4 Nov. 2019 Court settlement The committee also approved a $350,000 settlement with a retail store accused of violating a law prohibiting fraudulent drug advertising. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Amtrak's Hiawatha line to get new trains for Milwaukee-to-Chicago route," 31 Oct. 2019 Pressley tweeted encouraging words to Hill on Thursday, writing that her farewell speech was a comfort to those who have been similarly violated., "— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley)," 31 Oct. 2019 WhatsApp paired its statement with a lawsuit in a Ninth Circuit court, accusing NSO of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as state-level charges including breach of contract and interfering with their property. Wired, "WhatsApp's Case Against NSO Group Hinges on a Tricky Legal Argument," 29 Oct. 2019 Japan's trade minister Isshu Sugawara resigned on Friday, less than two months after he was appointed, following accusations of violating the country's election law. Fox News, "Japan trade minister resigns after being accused of gifting crabs and melons to voters," 26 Oct. 2019 In a federal settlement signed by Uible this July, the county commission admitted Hicks' First Amendment rights were violated when he was denied the right to speak during public meetings. Cameron Knight,, "Potential Ohio Senate candidate pleads guilty in election records case," 25 Oct. 2019 The letter does not detail the investigation’s findings but accuses Latson of violating the school district’s code of ethics and the state’s code of professional conduct for school principals. Brooke Baitinger,, "Ex-principal who made Holocaust comments faces firing next week," 22 Oct. 2019 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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Statistics for violate

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for violate

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on violate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for violate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with violate

Spanish Central: Translation of violate

Nglish: Translation of violate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of violate for Arabic Speakers

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