Definition of violence in English:



  • 1Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

    • ‘But the down side is the possibility of violence and bad behaviour on the streets.’
    • ‘What hurts most about domestic violence is that the bruises on your body are created by somebody you love.’
    • ‘The trouble then spreads to town centre takeaways with incidents of criminal damage and violence.’
    • ‘We found a clear relation between experiencing controlling behaviour and violence.’
    • ‘His attitude showed how domestic violence can be as damaging mentally as it is physically.’
    • ‘It is now being recognised that there is a problem of increased violence against staff.’
    • ‘The aims of the campaign are to highlight the prevalence of violence against women.’
    • ‘What I do not respect however is people who kill or otherwise use violence against people for any reason.’
    • ‘One act of violence against another is an act of violence against one's self.’
    • ‘More people were killed in political violence in those four years, than in the previous thirty.’
    • ‘Poor behaviour and violence in class is said to be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching.’
    • ‘All four defendants deny they were responsible for any of the violence against him.’
    • ‘The scheme comes about in response to increased levels of violence against health workers.’
    • ‘The most serious incidents include criminal damage and violence against people.’
    • ‘Family violence is one of the most insidious forms of violence against women.’
    • ‘He began life in a violent way but has learnt to channel that physical violence into creative energy.’
    • ‘There had been some physical violence, but a court safety order seemed to sort that.’
    • ‘She is pushing for changes in the penal code for rape and violence against women.’
    • ‘Police have warned fans that that any violence or bad behaviour will not be tolerated.’
    • ‘New laws could be passed in a bid to tackle the increasing levels of violence against nurses and hospital staff.’
    brutality, brute force, roughness, ferocity, fierceness, savagery, cruelty, sadism, barbarity, barbarousness, brutishness, murderousness, bloodthirstiness, ruthlessness, inhumanity, heartlessness, pitilessness, mercilessness
    forcefulness, force, full force, power, powerfulness, strength, might, savagery, ferocity, brutality, destructiveness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
      ‘the violence of her own feelings’
      • ‘No blood is spilled in the book - but its emotional violence is devastating.’
      • ‘Alarmed by the violence of her sorrow and by being a witness to it, but impatient with the sorrow itself, Ray was a poor pacifier.’
      • ‘The violence of the wind had lessened - though the air remained redolent with the smell of dust.’
      intensity, severity, strength, force, great force, vehemence, powerfulness, power, potency, ferocity, forcefulness, wildness, frenziedness, fury, storminess, tempestuousness, turbulence
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Law The unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.
      • ‘The appellant had no record for offences of violence or of a sexual nature.’
      • ‘Implicit in that was a threat to use violence if the bailiff went ahead.’
      • ‘That is the level of violence that deserves the sentence that was imposed in this case.’
      • ‘Each of the people who uses or threatens unlawful violence will be guilty of the offence.’
      • ‘I would like to say a word or two about those who use violence and intimidation to try and stop testing.’
      • ‘The deceased's use of violence was not premeditated and he had no intention to kill.’
      • ‘The claimant and his family have been the victims of violence and discrimination in one town.’
      • ‘So that it was not as if she was trying to escape from an immediate threat of violence to her.’
      • ‘That leaves the question of how immediate or imminent the threatened violence needs to be.’
      • ‘It is not suggested by the appellant that he was threatened with violence in 1985.’
      • ‘Another tenant in the property was also causing a large amount of problems including acts of violence.’
      • ‘With two exceptions, actual violence by the deceased upon the accused was required.’
      • ‘The fact on which he now relies is that though he stole, he did not in fact threaten violence.’
      • ‘They are subject to family violence at home and sexual harassment in the work place.’
      • ‘He was alleged to have forced the complainant by violence or threats to engage in sexual activity with him.’
      • ‘If they enforced contracts by violence they were supplying a deficiency of commercial law.’
      • ‘Well the whole history of the relevance of violence in Family Law is an interesting one.’
      • ‘He charges him with a wicked deed of violence to be punished by death, or in the twelfth century by mutilation.’
      • ‘She claims that she acted in self defence following domestic violence when he threatened her with the gun.’
      • ‘In other words the receipt of the letter led him to believe that immediate unlawful violence would be used.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin violentia, from violent- vehement, violent (see violent).