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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Another would be to ban people who are convicted of violent crime from buying a gun. The Editors, Scientific American, 26 May 2022 Apart from the increasing number of mass shootings, Dettlebach's nomination comes at a time of surging violent crime and a growing threat posed by racially motivated attackers. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, 25 May 2022 That’s up from 40 active shooter incidents in 2020, the agency said as cities across the U.S. are continuing to deal with a surge in violent crime. Alexis Stevens, ajc, 25 May 2022 Meanwhile, Hidalgo has repeatedly defended her staffers and has stood by the county's strategy on violent crime. Ariana Garcia, Chron, 25 May 2022 Burglaries are common, violent crime is rising and homeless encampments are blocking residential sidewalks and commandeering freeway underpasses. Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2022 During a community meeting last week, police reported a 26 percent jump in violent crime through May this year compared to the same time in 2021, and a 77 percent spike in arrests. Globe Staff,, 24 May 2022 The effort comes during a recent push from city officials and other stakeholders to find ways to prevent youth crime and victimization in the summer months during a time of historic violent crime in the city. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 May 2022 The relationship between different gun policies and violent crime is not clear, though neither the detractors nor proponents of gun control admit this. WSJ, 24 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near violent



violently ill

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Statistics for violent

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Violent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for violent


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

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on violent

Nglish: Translation of violent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of violent for Arabic Speakers


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