violent

adjective

vi·​o·​lent ˈvī-ə-lənt How to pronounce violent (audio)
1
a(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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: notably forceful, furious, or vehement
a violent argument
a violent denunciation
b
: extreme, intense
violent pain
violent colors
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.
Recent Examples on the Web The proceedings relied on eyewitness narratives of fast-moving, violent incidents. Courtney Dorning, NPR, 11 Apr. 2024 Incident drifts into incident as the family ambles along over the hills and past the trees of the Pacific Northwest, sometimes veering into slapstick — watch out for that turtle! — sometimes becoming highly scatological, and sometimes detouring into violent, gory tragedy. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 11 Apr. 2024 This quickly escalates to a violent scuffle as Officer TJ Meadows III accidentally shoots and kills his partner, Officer Kevin Cooper, with his backup gun. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 11 Apr. 2024 Vietnam imposes the death penalty mostly over violent offenses but also for economic crimes. Reuters, CNN, 11 Apr. 2024 In addition to violent threats, workers have faced rampant election conspiracies spread by Trump and the GOP—now supercharged by AI, election denial groups, and even election deniers inside the government. David Gilbert, WIRED, 11 Apr. 2024 The police department is also assisting violent crime victims through Missouri’s Protection Program for Victims/Witnesses of Violent Crime. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 11 Apr. 2024 California Video shows deputies repeatedly punching man in headlock during violent arrest in East L.A. Nov. 21, 2023 Jesse Vega, a local car enthusiast and smog technician who took the video, happened to be filming Alonso’s vehicle — a 1964 Chevrolet Impala — at the time. Jireh Deng, Los Angeles Times, 30 Mar. 2024 She was charged with multiple crimes including entering and remaining in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct in a capitol building. USA TODAY, 30 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin violentus; akin to Latin vis strength — more at vim

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near violent

Cite this Entry

“Violent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/violent. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

violent

adjective
vi·​o·​lent ˈvī-ə-lənt How to pronounce violent (audio)
1
: marked by great force or sudden activity
a violent attack of coughing
violent storms
2
a
: especially furious or emotional
a violent denial of guilt
b
: intense sense 1
violent pain
3
: caused by force
a violent death
4
a
: acting with or characterized by harmful physical force : exercising or marked by violence
a violent person
violent actions
b
: having a tendency to carry out acts of violence
violent prison inmates
violently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on violent

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