[vahy-uh-luh nt]


acting with or characterized by uncontrolled, strong, rough force: a violent earthquake.
caused by injurious or destructive force: a violent death.
intense in force, effect, etc.; severe; extreme: violent pain; violent cold.
roughly or immoderately vehement or ardent: violent passions.
furious in impetuosity, energy, etc.: violent haste.
of, relating to, or constituting a distortion of meaning or fact.

Origin of violent

1300–50; Middle English < Latin violentus, equivalent to vi-, shortening (before a vowel) of base of vīs force, violence + -olentus, variant (after a vowel) of -ulentus -ulent
Related formsvi·o·lent·ly, adverbo·ver·vi·o·lent, adjectiveo·ver·vi·o·lent·ly, adverbo·ver·vi·o·lent·ness, nounqua·si-vi·o·lent, adjectivequa·si-vi·o·lent·ly, adverbself-vi·o·lent, adjectiveul·tra·vi·o·lent, adjectiveul·tra·vi·o·lent·ly, adverbun·vi·o·lent, adjectiveun·vi·o·lent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedviolent virulent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for violent

Contemporary Examples of violent

Historical Examples of violent

  • Many replies were made to Mr. Gladstone's pamphlet that were violent and abusive.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • You are your mother's girl, think what you will; and have violent spirits to contend with.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What saved the two of them was the violent temper of the man.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But, what roused him in violent resentment only appealed to Sidney's curiosity.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He was as wicked as most of the race, fierce, violent, and voluptuous.

British Dictionary definitions for violent



marked or caused by great physical force or violencea violent stab
(of a person) tending to the use of violence, esp in order to injure or intimidate others
marked by intensity of any kinda violent clash of colours
characterized by an undue use of force; severe; harsh
caused by or displaying strong or undue mental or emotional forcea violent tongue
tending to distort the meaning or intenta violent interpretation of the text
Derived Formsviolently, adverb

Word Origin for violent

C14: from Latin violentus, probably from vīs strength
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

Word Origin and History for violent

mid-14c.; see violence. In Middle English the word also was applied in reference to heat, sunlight, smoke, etc., with the sense "having some quality so strongly as to produce a powerful effect." Related: Violently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper