[ vahy-uh-luhns ]
See synonyms for violence on
  1. swift and intense force: the violence of a storm.

  2. rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment: to die by violence.

  1. an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws: to take over a government by violence.

  2. a violent act or proceeding.

  3. rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling or language: the violence of his hatred.

  4. damage through distortion or unwarranted alteration: to do editorial violence to a text.

Origin of violence

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English, from Anglo-French, Old French, from Latin violentia; see violent, -ence

Other words for violence

Other words from violence

  • an·ti·vi·o·lence, adjective
  • coun·ter·vi·o·lence, noun
  • self-vi·o·lence, noun

Words Nearby violence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use violence in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for violence


/ (ˈvaɪələns) /

  1. the exercise or an instance of physical force, usually effecting or intended to effect injuries, destruction, etc

  2. powerful, untamed, or devastating force: the violence of the sea

  1. great strength of feeling, as in language, etc; fervour

  2. an unjust, unwarranted, or unlawful display of force, esp such as tends to overawe or intimidate

  3. do violence to

    • to inflict harm upon; damage or violate: they did violence to the prisoners

    • to distort or twist the sense or intention of: the reporters did violence to my speech

Origin of violence

C13: via Old French from Latin violentia impetuosity, from violentus violent

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