vi·​o·​lent | \ˈvī-ə-lənt \

Definition of violent 

1a(1) : marked by the use of usually harmful or destructive physical force a violent attack violent crime The peaceful demonstration turned violent.

(2) : showing or including violence violent movies

b : extremely powerful or forceful and capable of causing damage violent storms violent coughing

2 : caused by physical force or violence : not natural a violent death

3a : emotionally agitated to the point of using harmful physical force became violent after an insult

b : prone to commit acts of violence violent prison inmates

4a : notably forceful, furious, or vehement a violent argument a violent denunciation

b : extreme, intense violent pain violent colors

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Other Words from violent

violently adverb

Examples of violent in a Sentence

They witnessed a violent struggle between police and protesters. The peaceful protest suddenly turned violent. The city has experienced an increase in violent crime in the past year. The final scene was extremely violent. She suffered a violent death in a car accident. The patient suddenly became violent and had to be restrained. He's not a particularly violent person.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In Germany, as details about the murders emerged, there was widespread outrage that a neo-Nazi group could have existed for so long, carrying out violent attacks, mainly on Turkish men, without police intervention. Siobhán O'grady, Washington Post, "German court sentences woman nicknamed ‘Nazi bride’ to life in prison for role in racially motivated murders," 11 July 2018 But as violent protests over sharply rising fuel prices shook the island nation, a dozen members of North Albemarle Baptist Church still took refuge Monday in an orphanage outside the capital city. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Haiti 'just completely blew up,' NC pastor says of stranded mission team," 9 July 2018 Uber is banned in several places in Europe, and taxi drivers have mounted occasionally violent protests at the automation intrusion. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System," 9 July 2018 Lafontant's announcement came after two days of tire burnings, gunshots and violent attacks. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Haiti has put a fuel hike on hold. But is it enough to save the prime minister's job?," 7 July 2018 But the deal has sparked violent nationalist protests and political upheaval in both countries. The Economist, "The obstacles on Macedonia’s road to the EU," 28 June 2018 The move instigated protests which led to further violent clashes in Kashmir. Aijaz Hussain, The Christian Science Monitor, "India takes control of Kashmir territory," 25 June 2018 Japan is known as one of the world’s safest countries, and violent random attacks are rare. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Knife attack on Japan bullet train leaves 1 dead, 2 hurt," 9 June 2018 Weeks of often violent clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli military culminated last week in an exchange of fire between militants in Gaza and Israel’s military. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "Palestinian Protests Turn Violent Again But Gatherings Smaller," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'violent.' 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 violent

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

History and Etymology for violent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin violentus; akin to Latin vis strength — more at vim

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Statistics for violent

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for violent

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

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English Language Learners Definition of violent

: using or involving the use of physical force to cause harm or damage to someone or something : showing violence

: caused by physical force or violence

: trying to physically attack someone because of anger


vi·​o·​lent | \ˈvī-ə-lənt \

Kids Definition of violent

1 : showing very strong force a violent earthquake

2 : extreme entry 1 sense 1, intense violent pain

3 : using or likely to use harmful force a violent person

4 : caused by force a violent death

Other Words from violent

violently adverb The ground shook violently.

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More from Merriam-Webster on violent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for violent

Spanish Central: Translation of violent

Nglish: Translation of violent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of violent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on violent

What made you want to look up violent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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