vi·​o·​lent | \ ˈvī-ə-lənt How to pronounce violent (audio) \

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 Tuesday's violent protests materialized after a Black Madison man was arrested after bringing a baseball bat and bullhorn into a Capitol square restaurant and shouting at customers. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trump falsely claims Wisconsin lawmaker was 'rooting on' destruction of Madison statues before being assaulted," 26 June 2020 The incident occurred just a few blocks from violent protests at the state Capitol. CBS News, "Hate crime probe underway after black woman says she was burned by lighter fluid and flame thrown by white man," 26 June 2020 Texas businessman and Trump donor Doug Deason said he had been invited to the rally but stayed away out of caution over the coronavirus and concern about violent protests. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump campaign sticks with Brad Parscale despite criticism over Tulsa rally," 22 June 2020 As would be expected, Minneapolis — where Floyd, an unarmed black man died May 25 after a police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes — had the earliest and most prolonged stretches of violent protests. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, "About 30% of cities Cleveland’s size or larger had only one night of violence associated with protests of George Floyd’s death, review finds," 10 June 2020 More than half the victims were shot last Sunday after a night of violent protests over Floyd’s death, the outlet reported. Fox News, "Ilhan Omar’s GOP challenger decries ‘silence’ on Chicago gun violence," 7 June 2020 Since the violent protests at the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, the Miami model has become a standard response. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Police Tactics Could Turn Protests Into Covid-19 Hot Spots," 6 June 2020 The killing of Giovanni López in Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos, Jalisco last month spurred violent protests in Guadalajara Thursday evening., "Three officers arrested in Mexico in death of man in police custody," 5 June 2020 That’s partly prompted by a tumultuous history -- long-pending plans to sell the airline have seen violent street protests by labor unions fearing layoffs, and political parties in opposition. Faseeh Mangi,, "Airline in Pakistan Crash Saw 52 Safety Incidents in Half Century," 4 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for violent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for violent

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Violent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for violent


How to pronounce violent (audio)

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 How to pronounce violent (audio) \

Kids Definition of violent

1 : showing very strong force a violent earthquake
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

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