vi·​o·​lence | \ˈvī-lən(t)s, ˈvī-ə-\

Definition of violence 

1a : the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy

b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure

2 : injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : outrage

3a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force the violence of the storm

b : vehement feeling or expression : fervor also : an instance of such action or feeling

c : a clashing or jarring quality : discordance

4 : undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for violence


force, foul play



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Examples of violence in a Sentence

They need to learn how to settle their arguments without resorting to violence. movies filled with sex and violence The violence of the storm caused great fear.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Those military moves could complicate U.S. efforts to halt the violence in Yemen, which is getting more attention following revelations that Saudi Arabia sent a team that killed Mr. Khashoggi in Istanbul Oct. 2. Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ, "Intensified Yemen Attacks Complicate U.S. Peace Plans," 9 Nov. 2018 That is not where inducements to violence against Trump’s opponents have stemmed from. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "All the Times Trump Has Incited Violence Against People He Dislikes," 30 Oct. 2018 In the wake of the airing of his exit from Paradise, Leo has taken his volatile behavior to social media, suggesting violence in response to his critics, and allegedly sending a threatening DM to a former Bachelor contestant. De Elizabeth, Allure, "Bachelor in Paradise," 29 Aug. 2018 Before she was attacked, Samta had already experienced violence in her village. Seema Yasmin, SELF, "In Rural India, Protecting Women From Witch Hunting, and an Impending Flood," 17 Aug. 2018 Families who enter the U.S. to flee violence and seek protection are criminalized, traumatized, and dehumanized. Alexandra Robbins, Marie Claire, "The Welcome Committee," 15 Aug. 2018 Facebook’s fake news problem isn’t just causing violence in India. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "WhatsApp will drastically limit forwarding across the globe to stop the spread of fake news, following violence in India and Myanmar," 20 July 2018 Many are encouraged by the fact that the US is in talks with Mexico to assist that country – and its incoming, migrant-friendly president – in becoming an appealing refuge itself for those fleeing violence or repression in Central America. The Christian Science Monitor, "Mexico as a haven for asylum seekers," 11 July 2018 In recent years, that resource has been hurt by increasing violence in Mexico, the falling value of the Mexican peso and Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric. Kevin Sullivan, star-telegram, "In this Texas border town, immigration isn’t a problem — it’s a way of life," 7 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for violence

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for violence

The first known use of violence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for violence



English Language Learners Definition of violence

: the use of physical force to harm someone, to damage property, etc.

: great destructive force or energy


vi·​o·​lence | \ˈvī-ə-ləns \

Kids Definition of violence

1 : the use of force to harm a person or damage property

2 : great force or strength especially of a kind that involves destruction Timothy was not purposely trying to frighten me about the violence of the storm …— Theodore Taylor, The Cay

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Comments on violence

What made you want to look up violence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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