vi·​o·​lence ˈvī-lən(t)s How to pronounce violence (audio)
: the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy
: an instance of violent treatment or procedure
: injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : outrage
: intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force
the violence of the storm
: vehement feeling or expression : fervor
also : an instance of such action or feeling
: a clashing or jarring quality : discordance
: undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)

Examples of violence in a Sentence

They need to learn how to settle their arguments without resorting to violence. movies filled with sex and violence The violence of the storm caused great fear.
Recent Examples on the Web And speaking of that clash of worldviews, find someone who loves you like this show loves to ironically juxtapose scenes of despair or stylized, gory violence with upbeat or wistful Forties and Fifties pop songs. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 10 Apr. 2024 And if the violence is quite frequent and exquisitely graphic? Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2024 The violence has wiped out neighborhoods, cultural landmarks and historic sites, and brought the population to the brink of starvation and famine. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 10 Apr. 2024 That two of Darling’s most wrenching, resonant performances—Women in Revolt and Best Friends—are predicated on verbal and physical male violence against her may make viewers today wince. Mayukh Sen, The Atlantic, 9 Apr. 2024 The commission found that the facts didn't support the theory that violence was sparked by outside agitators with a communist agenda, as then-FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover claimed. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, 9 Apr. 2024 This political role did not temper the group’s reliance on violence: several Hezbollah members were convicted in the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Suzanne Maloney, Foreign Affairs, 8 Apr. 2024 Some stage business, including a crucial moment of violence between Juicy and Larry, was sloppily executed. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024 Sheer force cannot make Palestinians accept the violence done to them, the destruction wrought on their homes, and their fate as a subject population, deprived of self-determination. Phil Klay, The Atlantic, 28 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'violence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of violence was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near violence

Cite this Entry

“Violence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


vi·​o·​lence ˈvī-ə-lən(t)s How to pronounce violence (audio)
: the use of force in a way that harms a person or property
: great force or energy especially of a destructive kind
the violence of the storm caused great fear

More from Merriam-Webster on violence

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