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

Under the deal, the Taliban would agree not to allow Afghanistan to be used as a base for terrorist attacks, and negotiators would attempt to secure a reduction in violence leading to a cease-fire. David Zucchino,, "Taliban attack 2d Afghan city in 2 days as peace deal nears," 1 Sep. 2019 The government condemned the protesters for engaging in violence, damaging property and endangering the public. Los Angeles Times, "New violence erupts in Hong Kong after protesters march in defiance of police ban," 31 Aug. 2019 The growing wave of vigilante violence includes a mob assault of two detectives (Shea Whigham and Bill Camp), left in critical condition. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Joker': Film Review | Venice 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 At his West Baltimore school — where many students come from poverty and witness the city’s unrelenting gun violence up close — Parsons transformed his classroom into a literary oasis. Talia Richman,, "‘Are the books free? Yes!’: For Baltimore teachers heading back to school, The Book Thing is a treasure," 31 Aug. 2019 The Sudan Doctors Committee said late on Monday that along with those killed, than 200 people were wounded in the violence. Washington Post, "Sudanese activists say tribal clashes killed 37 in port city," 27 Aug. 2019 More than a dozen children have been killed in gun violence in the city this summer. CBS News, "St. Louis announces up to $100,000 reward in string of unsolved child shooting deaths," 26 Aug. 2019 The clashes, while not as prolonged or violent as some earlier ones, ended a brief lull in the violence. Kin Cheung, The Denver Post, "Hong Kong police draw guns, arrest 36 in latest protest," 25 Aug. 2019 The clashes, while not as prolonged or violent as some earlier ones, ended a brief lull in the violence. NBC News, "Hong Kong police use water cannon on protesters as pro-democracy fight continues," 25 Aug. 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

4 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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