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


force, foul play



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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

And while the real crisis of masculinity is male violence against women, the proliferation of pseudo-intellectual charlatans simultaneously seeding and harvesting the anxieties of young men for their own uses isn’t helping. Jonny Diamond, Longreads, "Lumbersexuality, a Sport and a Pastime," 8 June 2019 All of the discrimination results in people often living lives that are just more vulnerable to violence. Gina Martinez, Time, "Two Recent Murders of Black Trans Women in Texas Reveal a Nationwide Crisis, Advocates Say," 7 June 2019 Friday is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and Johnson noted the national Wear Orange campaign started by a group of young people to honor a friend lost to gun violence in 2013. David Anderson,, "Harford Councilman Johnson announces community cleanup, fair Saturday in Edgewood to remember gun violence victims," 6 June 2019 Yet the junta’s swift resort to violence may have increased the risk of civil war. The Economist, "Pro-democracy protesters are slaughtered in Khartoum," 6 June 2019 Shaw grew up in an impoverished neighborhood of Spanish Town, Jamaica, losing three brothers to gun violence and a fourth to a car accident. Jonathan Tannenwald,, "Women’s World Cup 2019: 11 players to watch beyond the United States," 6 June 2019 Dahmen also highlighted the need for stories that address solutions to gun violence. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "Denying mass killers 'sick, twisted fame': Public officials refuse to name them to avoid copycats," 4 June 2019 Members of Nxivm were allegedly submitted to the same form of training used on suicide bombers — forced to watch extremely violent videos (including the rape scene from The Accused) for the purposes of desensitising them to violence. Courtney Shea,, "Why You’re Closer To Joining A Cult Than You Think," 3 June 2019 Last year, the Human Rights Campaign tracked at least 26 deaths due to fatal violence. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "Dallas police enlist help of FBI after second transgender woman killed in 2 weeks," 3 June 2019

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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Statistics for violence

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for violence

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

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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

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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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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