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 Meanwhile state officials have warned of the potential for violence from pro-gun and far right groups, though there have been no further details released on that either. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Group: ‘Specific threats’ against pro-gun speakers in Virginia," 20 Jan. 2020 The official cited the Trump administration's withdrawal from the nuclear deal as a catalyst for violence against American interests in the region. CBS News, "Iran says U.S. bears blame for Iranian forces shooting down plane," 15 Jan. 2020 Ivey appointed the study group after the U.S. Department of Justice alleged in April that the level of violence in Alabama prisons violated the Constitution. Mike Cason |, al, "Study group: Alabama criminal justice fixes must be funded," 14 Jan. 2020 City leaders acknowledged a persistent perception of rising violence in the city, no matter what their statistics show. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Dramatically changed the direction': Milwaukee leaders highlight drop in homicides, credit collaboration," 13 Jan. 2020 Will Ellie's homosexuality be used in the plot for anything more than an excuse for violence? Julie Muncy, Wired, "The 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2020," 11 Jan. 2020 Eruptions of violence in Mississippi prisons this week left five inmates dead and prompted a statewide lockdown of facilities that continued into the weekend, as officials seek to reassert control in the correctional system. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Mississippi Prisons on Lockdown After Violence Leaves Five Dead," 4 Jan. 2020 Experts warned Friday that the strike could instead be a catalyst for greater violence. Louisa Loveluck, Anchorage Daily News, "Iran vows revenge after U.S. drone strike kills elite force commander," 3 Jan. 2020 There are too many ways to tell stories of gun violence in America. Allegra Kirkland, Teen Vogue, "Teen Vogue's 10 Most Powerful Stories About Gun Violence This Decade," 3 Jan. 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

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 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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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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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