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)

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The violence is grittier, less lightsaber-dependent: The first 10 minutes of the pilot include a character’s accidental death and the cold-blooded murder of another at gunpoint. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 21 Sep. 2022 Their violence is by and large quiet — more banal, more a matter of an imbalance of power. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 17 Sep. 2022 The main character is a young Spanish girl, with Moroccan origins, who comes from a dysfunctional family where violence is a norm. Liza Foreman, Variety, 15 Sep. 2022 According to a May 2022 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gun violence is a growing public health issue in the U.S. and disproportionately impacts Black people. Bydeena Zaru, ABC News, 15 Sep. 2022 The killing sparked sadness and outrage among fans as well as community activists, who say violence at a popular eatery is unacceptable. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2022 Bolles’ city editor, Bob Early, said in an interview that violence was much more of an anomaly in those days. James Rainey And Brittny Mejia, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Sep. 2022 Sometimes, violence was a way of communication, and MacInnis was willing to listen. Jessica Bartlett,, 9 Sep. 2022 The string of deadly attacks across the city over the past week have elicited rage and fear from the city’s leaders, who say the violence is unacceptable. Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 9 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of violence

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

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Time Traveler for violence

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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

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for violence


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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