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

The forum has tackled weighty subjects like violent crime, air pollution, development and, most recently, safety issues that have roiled the horse racing industry. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Measles shmeasles? Louisville Forum wrongly gives anti-vaxxer group a platform," 10 June 2019 Were there new neighborhoods with high violent crimes, or neighborhoods that had quieted down? Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Behind the Crime Counts data project," 9 June 2019 During a tour of Alaska this past week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced that Anchorage was one of 10 cities selected for a public safety initiative focused on violent crime. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage mayor defends trail safety, city efforts on homeless camps," 6 June 2019 The killings have exacerbated a surge in violent crime in Dallas that has gained national attention with last month’s 41 homicides — the city’s highest monthly tally since the 1990s. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Dozens gather to remember 13-year-old slain in Pleasant Grove as Dallas' violent crime surge continues," 5 June 2019 The warrants for their arrest, made public on Monday, provided the clearest evidence that the police were investigating the case as a violent crime. Michael Gold, New York Times, "Jennifer Dulos: Blood Found in Trash Matches That of Missing Connecticut Mother of 5," 3 June 2019 In fact, people with mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "The Biggest Gun Violence Myths Debunked," 28 May 2019 Well, there is significantly less information known about this gene's affect on the violent tendencies of a person. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Can You Really Have a Serial Killer Gene like Betty on "Riverdale"?," 9 May 2019 Despite its violent creation and travel through the harsh radiation of space, the minerals still show evidence of water. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Finding Water on an Ancient Asteroid Means for Life on Earth," 2 May 2019

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

13 Jun 2019

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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 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.

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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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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