vi·​o·​lence ˈvī-lən(t)s How to pronounce violence (audio)
: the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy
: an instance of violent treatment or procedure
: injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : outrage
: intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force
the violence of the storm
: vehement feeling or expression : fervor
also : an instance of such action or feeling
: a clashing or jarring quality : discordance
: undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)

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 Clear calls for extreme violence are against our terms of service and will result in suspension. Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, 25 Nov. 2023 Tensions are high as well because a few hundred of the 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank are using the war in Gaza to attack Palestinians, the official said, and violence is increasing. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, 24 Nov. 2023 The violence and looting through some of Dublin’s most famous streets began after a stabbing attack outside a school that left five people hospitalized. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 Tensions remain high, with violence breaking out twice in recent months, and Western countries fear that Russia could try to foment trouble in the Balkans to avert attention from the war in Ukraine. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports,, 23 Nov. 2023 In this debut novel, a doorman, his daughter and an affluent lawyer with a dark secret see their paths collide after a shocking act of violence. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 On March 31 of this year, the northern state of Bihar was rocked by violence ahead of Ram Navami, a Hindu festival marking the birth of mythological figure Lord Ram. Parth M.n., WIRED, 23 Nov. 2023 ProPublica’s coverage of gun violence reveals how first responders, policymakers and those directly affected are coping with the bloodshed. James Bandler, ProPublica, 21 Nov. 2023 Carolina: Nobody is thinking about the impact that this street violence is having on young women, right? Anna Deavere Smith, The Atlantic, 13 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'violence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near violence

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


vi·​o·​lence ˈvī-ə-lən(t)s How to pronounce violence (audio)
: the use of force in a way that harms a person or property
: great force or energy especially of a destructive kind
the violence of the storm caused great fear

More from Merriam-Webster on violence

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