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 Not the violence from the Republican rioters, but the passivity, even complicity, of the police. Albert Fox Cahn, Wired, "The Capitol Attack Doesn’t Justify Expanding Surveillance," 9 Jan. 2021 The probes come after an especially fraught year for U.S. policing that saw massive civil rights protests against police violence. Kim Bellware,, "Police departments across the US open probes into whether their own members took part in the Capitol riot," 9 Jan. 2021 Domestic violence is a common thread among homicide cases during recent years, including 2020, said Cross. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "In a year where homicide rates increased nationwide, Anchorage saw significant decreases," 3 Jan. 2021 Sessions then went further by ruling that victims of domestic and gang violence are generally categorically ineligible for asylum, closing the door on protections for two of the most common types of asylum seekers. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, "Joe Biden Doesn’t Need the GOP’s Permission to Fix Our Broken Immigration System," 25 Dec. 2020 The unrepentant violence that is James Corden doing a homophobic portrayal of a gay man in a musical about gay rights. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, "James Corden’s performance in ‘The Prom’ condemned as homophobic: ‘It’s not brave’," 14 Dec. 2020 However, violence escalated in the neighborhood until the 1990s. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside’s first female, first Latina mayor takes office Tuesday," 13 Dec. 2020 According to the suit, Barnett plans to donate a large portion of any monetary damages to domestic-violence charities. Chevaz Clarke, CBS News, "FKA twigs sues Shia LaBeouf over alleged sexual assault and "relentless abuse"," 12 Dec. 2020 Then the violence that surrounded Allen growing up hit home. New York Times, "Talking About Race Made Two N.F.L. Teammates Partners in Activism," 3 Dec. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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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