Definition of violent in English:



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

    ‘a violent confrontation with riot police’
    • ‘I've watched violent films, read about murderers and I think I'm a pretty normal person.’
    • ‘Up to two security guards will be on hand to protect doctors in case patients with a history of aggression turn violent.’
    • ‘While the overwhelming majority aim to be peaceful there are fears that some protests may turn violent.’
    • ‘Saboteurs have pledged to disrupt hunts over Christmas and predict they will turn violent.’
    • ‘At one point, things threatened to turn violent, but police arrived and calmed the volatile situation down.’
    • ‘Not because he might turn violent - he has never been violent towards me - but he often conceals things from me.’
    • ‘This new workers' organisation was forced into violent confrontation with the state.’
    • ‘Really, it's amazing that more people don't die violent deaths at the hands of their roommates.’
    • ‘It's just the room full of drunks are more likely to turn violent.’
    • ‘The inquest heard she was subjected to ‘a number of violent physical assaults’.’
    • ‘Extra security staff will be on call when a GP thinks a patient could turn violent.’
    • ‘Part four contains six short strident emotive poems while part five has an allegorical poem on violent death.’
    • ‘He began to turn violent against my mum, smashing up the house and threatening her.’
    • ‘Somehow I received a stronger dose of a drug than was necessary, provoking an instant and violent physical reaction.’
    • ‘As well as looking into unexpected or violent deaths in their district, the coroner inquires into finds of treasure.’
    • ‘Boxing, with all its physical and violent dimensions, is considered a man's sport.’
    • ‘He added that they were reviewing violent deaths over the past few months to see if there might be connections.’
    • ‘The neighbour said they were all worried he would flip and turn violent.’
    • ‘The convictions are for offences ranging from violent assault to criminal damage.’
    • ‘She carries a small wooden truncheon tucked up her sleeve in case her customers turn violent.’
    brutal, vicious, savage, harsh, rough, aggressive, bullying, threatening, terrorizing, fierce, wild, intemperate, hot-headed, hot-tempered, bloodthirsty, ferocious, berserk, frenzied
    powerful, forceful, hard, sharp, smart, strong, vigorous, mighty, hefty, harsh, thunderous, savage, ferocious, fierce, brutal, vicious, destructive, damaging, painful
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    1. 1.1Law Involving an unlawful exercise or exhibition of force.
      • ‘The area in which the family live is a violent one with drugs and alcohol abuse prevalent.’
      • ‘Governments sometimes changed quickly with the all too often violent overthrow of the regime in power.’
      • ‘This was a short, violent incident during much of which the deceased was, it seems, struggling vigorously.’
      • ‘The immediate aftermath was a series of violent and damaging strikes.’
      • ‘He has been involved in serious and violent offending over a prolonged period of time.’
      • ‘I have to do these violent vocal exercises to get it kind of oiled up and moving.’
      • ‘It is facile to attribute the increase in violent crime during this period to the moratorium on executions.’
      • ‘This shows that violent sabotage is by no means unknown in the passenger ferry industry.’
      • ‘His client had earlier pleaded guilty to violent disorder and taking a vehicle without consent.’
      • ‘Three of the defendants pleaded guilty to violent disorder last week.’
      • ‘The training patrol turned out be a challenging exercise due to a violent dust storm.’
      • ‘Tphysically assaulted a member of staff in a violent and uncontrolled manner.’
      • ‘They saw their father as a more violent disciplinarian than their mother.’
      • ‘There have been violent and, tragically, fatal incidents in the past.’
      • ‘The applicants were involved in a protest which had led to a violent disturbance.’
      • ‘Thelma has several drug-related convictions and is awaiting trial on a charge of violent disorder.’
      • ‘If a person has an unusually volatile, excitable or violent nature [or is drunk] he cannot rely on that as an excuse.’
      • ‘Indulge in music, sex, dance, exercise, violent video games, bright lights, whatever.’
      • ‘It is still more appalling that they were responsible for violent and shameful abuses.’
      • ‘The plaintiff was a man with a history of mental disorder and seriously violent behaviour.’
  • 2(especially of an emotion or a destructive natural force) very strong or powerful.

    ‘violent dislike’
    ‘the violent eruption killed 1,700 people’
    • ‘Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity, ranging from mild irritation to violent rage.’
    • ‘He projected his own violent moods on to the canvas in red and green.’
    • ‘What would make them turn to such violent and destructive actions to destroy their own country.’
    • ‘The most violent impulses of young soldiers have been played upon and promoted.’
    • ‘As a result of his injuries, Karl suffered violent mood swings, and spent the next 15 years in hospital care.’
    • ‘This in turn has led to violent resentment on the part of those left out.’
    • ‘In these situations jealousy can seem like a logical reaction to an emotionally violent incident.’
    • ‘Arnold ploughed his violent ambition into his own body by working out constantly.’
    • ‘Somehow I just love those violent eruptions in the sky and the ensuing downpour of torrential rain.’
    • ‘In National, party presidents are despised on principle, and with a violent passion.’
    • ‘The violent movement produces powerful shockwaves traveling at the speed of sound.’
    • ‘Cinaed leaned down slightly for his yell to be heard over the violent force of the storm.’
    • ‘The most violent volcanoes occur at destructive plate margins, where one plate is consuming another.’
    • ‘No other individual currently on our screens and in our tabloids can solicit such violent hatred from my otherwise amiable self.’
    • ‘If everything was not perfect, he could fly into a violent rage.’
    • ‘I bent over to pick her up, but with a sudden spasm of violent energy she angrily pushed herself off.’
    • ‘Perhaps using computer games like these to express violent impulses makes for a happier, healthier society.’
    • ‘A guidance counsellor suggested he channel his violent energies into drama.’
    • ‘A woman driver was thrown to the ground in a violent road rage attack on Tuesday morning.’
    • ‘But as their relationship developed, it became clear he had an alcohol problem which set off a violent temper.’
    intense, extreme, strong, powerful, forceful, great, vehement, wild, frenzied, raging, riotous, rampaging, rampant, out of control, stormy, tempestuous, turbulent, tumultuous, intemperate, uncontrolled, unrestrained, uncurbed, unchecked, unbridled, unfettered, uncontrollable, unmanageable, ungovernable, inordinate, excessive, consuming, passionate, overwhelming, immoderate
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    1. 2.1(of a colour) vivid.
      ‘violent fiery colours’
      • ‘Well Dave, it could be a trick of the light, but it looks like you are developing a "island gut" under that violent orange shirt’
      • ‘Van Gogh expressed psychological turmoil through expressionist contrasts of violent colour.’
      • ‘He was covered from head to toe in violent pink paint.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘having a marked or powerful effect’): via Old French from Latin violent- vehement, violent.