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 But the prison raid does highlight the kind of violence that could continue in Afghanistan despite a peace deal with the Taliban. Washington Post, "Prison stormed in eastern Afghanistan hours before Eid cease-fire expires, with Islamic State claiming responsibility," 2 Aug. 2020 The deal involves the drawdown of American troops on the ground, even as Afghanistan remains wracked by high levels of violence – sustaining the highest number of deaths by terrorism by far across the world. Fox News, "Report: Taliban allowing Al Qaeda training camps and providing support, despite U.S. agreement to cut all ties," 1 Aug. 2020 Besides the harassing texts and emails, there was also some physical violence in the relationship. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawyer handcuffed in courtroom for second time in a year, now headed to jail for a year," 31 July 2020 But the apparent widespread use of violence by law enforcement, and of chemical weapons like smoke and tear gas, can be a panic-starter. Adam Rogers, Wired, "What the Science of Animal Networks Reveals About Protests," 31 July 2020 Crime and safety have driven many elections in Oakland, where high rates of violence have fueled calls for more police officers. Rachel Swan,, "How the debate about police reform could remake Oakland’s City Council," 31 July 2020 One of those leaks triggered a spree of violence in Allende, a Mexican ranching town about 40 minutes from the U.S. border. Ginger Thompson, ProPublica, "New York Grand Jury Indicts Two Former Leaders of Mexico’s Drug War for Cartel Connections," 30 July 2020 Phoenix Police say one of the videos posted by Egler link him to the fire and other threats of violence. Cole Lauterbach, Washington Examiner, "Alleged Arizona Democratic Party HQ arsonist is former Democratic committeeman," 30 July 2020 The Taliban are used to simultaneously talking and fighting, but this time are carefully calibrating the scale of violence by mounting constant attacks while taking little new territory. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Signs of hope for troubled Afghanistan peace talks?," 30 July 2020

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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Statistics for violence

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for violence


How to pronounce violence (audio)

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

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