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 On Thursday, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced tougher measures to quell the violence and stiffen penalties for vandalism in an effort to restore social order. Fox News, "Chilean vandals loot Catholic church, set fire to religious artifacts," 9 Nov. 2019 Friday’s demonstrations in the capital began with truck drivers and students protesting against a series of measures announced by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera to crack down on vandals and looting, which some said could exacerbate the violence. Washington Post, "Church looted by vandals as protests rage in Chile’s capital," 9 Nov. 2019 Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica, "Revisiting an American Town Where Black People Weren’t Welcome After Dark," 7 Nov. 2019 The match between Argentine giant River Plate, the defending champion, and Brazilian outfit Flamengo has been switched because of the recent violence that has gripped Chile. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Copa Libertadores final moved from Chile to Peru because of civil unrest," 6 Nov. 2019 The sheriff’s office has not commented on a motive for the violence that shocked the community of Orinda. Evan Sernoffsky,, "Was the Orinda Halloween shooting linked to a quadruple slaying in San Francisco? Police are investigating," 5 Nov. 2019 Edwards said something must change to address the violence. Carol Robinson |, al, "Teen pleads guilty to 2018 killing of beloved Woodlawn football captain," 4 Nov. 2019 The violence seems all-pervasive, like a weather system. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Confusion’s Masterpiece," 2 Nov. 2019 There was an argument that escalated to violence, court records said. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "'I feel bad': Man gets home detention, probation in fight that led to shooting of judges," 1 Nov. 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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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

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

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