vi·​o·​lence | \ ˈvī-lən(t)s How to pronounce violence (audio) , 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



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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 Haitian media reported the outbreak of broader violence in Cap-Haitien, including attacks on businesses. Washington Post, 23 July 2021 Kenneth Kambeitz, who lives nearby, said the gun and gang violence in the area is out of control. Monivette Cordeiro,, 22 July 2021 During peace negotiations and on visits abroad, the Taliban’s leadership has expressed both a belief that women have rights under Islamic laws and a desire to reduce violence in Afghanistan. Sher Jan Ahmadzai, The Conversation, 22 July 2021 Shigeru Miyamoto rejects violence in video games and wants to be a good boss. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 22 July 2021 With violence in Afghanistan escalating and the risk of a Taliban takeover looming, the Bureau of Central and South Asian affairs is led by an acting assistant secretary. Nicole Gaouette, CNN, 21 July 2021 Davis traces her rise from growing up in poverty and family violence in Central Falls, R.I., to becoming one of the world’s most acclaimed actors., 21 July 2021 Mayor Muriel Bowser said the shooting was an example of too much gun violence in the city. Chad Day, WSJ, 19 July 2021 Bowser and Contee said the community also needs to help police try to drive down violence in the neighborhood. Fox News, 18 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for violence

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near violence

Viole d'Orchestre



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Statistics for violence

Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce violence (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on violence

Nglish: Translation of violence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of violence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about violence


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