[ vahy-uh-leyt ]
See synonyms for: violateviolatedviolatingviolator on

verb (used with object),vi·o·lat·ed, vi·o·lat·ing.
  1. to act against (a law, principle, promise, agreement, instruction, etc.); break, transgress, or fail to honor: He violated city bylaws by building without a permit.I’d stay longer, but I don’t want to violate my curfew.

  2. to treat (something precious, sacred, beautiful, etc.) with disrespect or contempt; mar or desecrate: They feel compelled to speak out against governments that violate human rights.

  1. to break through or into by force or without right, as a border, home, property, restricted space, etc.:A hostile power has violated our airspace.They returned to find that their home had been violated.

  2. to break in upon or disturb rudely; interfere thoughtlessly with: These surveillance cameras violate my privacy.

  3. to molest sexually, especially to rape.

Origin of violate

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Latin violātus “treated with violence,” past participle of violāre “to treat with violence, violate,” apparently derivative of violentus violent (taking viol- as base); see -ate1

Other words from violate

  • vi·o·la·tor, vi·o·lat·er, noun
  • pre·vi·o·late, verb (used with object), pre·vi·o·lat·ed, pre·vi·o·lat·ing.
  • re·vi·o·late, verb (used with object), re·vi·o·lat·ed, re·vi·o·lat·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use violate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for violate


/ (ˈvaɪəˌleɪt) /

  1. to break, disregard, or infringe (a law, agreement, etc)

  2. to rape or otherwise sexually assault

  1. to disturb rudely or improperly; break in upon

  2. to treat irreverently or disrespectfully; outrage: he violated a sanctuary

  3. obsolete to mistreat physically

  1. archaic violated or dishonoured

Origin of violate

C15: from Latin violāre to do violence to, from vīs strength

Derived forms of violate

  • violable, adjective
  • violability or violableness, noun
  • violably, adverb
  • violation, noun
  • violative, adjective
  • violator or violater, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012