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

The server tried to walk away, but the situation turned violent. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "Applebee’s waitress was stabbed after she brushed up against diner’s leg, cops say," 13 July 2018 The 33-year-old woman whose body was found partially concealed in a Delray Beach community garden died a violent death, police say. Tonya Alanez,, "Woman found in Delray garden died violently, police say," 13 July 2018 What prosecutors were able to determine was that Anduaga had previously committed four felonies and 17 misdemeanors — all for non-violent offenses — since 1973. Alex Riggins,, "Man who stole government benefits for 37 years is sentenced to 37 months in federal prison," 14 July 2018 The event was organized following the violent demonstrations involving white supremacists and neo-Nazis last weekend in Charlottesville, Va. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Acid-tripping neo-Nazi from Missouri disabled train to ‘save it from black people,’ feds say," 13 July 2018 Their idyll is interrupted when a feral and mysterious 14-year-old girl shoots their cattle dead, sending Wyatt Smith into Utah's hyper-violent crime underworld to find her., "How Rae DelBianco Went From Cattle Farmer To Bookstagram Queen To Literary Darling — All By 25," 13 July 2018 These days, the world attempts to return us to our Lord in ever more violent ways. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 That mirth, combined with the utter ridiculousness of the plot, makes Barry an effective, if violent, escape from the cruelty of the real world. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "9 Emmy-Nominated Shows You Can Binge to Escape Reality," 13 July 2018 Also, look at the amount of violent conduct there have been., "FIFA Confirm Final (Winter!) Dates for 2022 World Cup in Qatar," 13 July 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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Phrases Related to violent

violently ill

Statistics for violent

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for violent

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

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More Definitions for violent



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 deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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