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[vahy-uh-luh ns] /ˈvaɪ ə ləns/
swift and intense force:
the violence of a storm.
rough or injurious physical force, action, or treatment:
to die by violence.
an unjust or unwarranted exertion of force or power, as against rights or laws:
to take over a government by violence.
a violent act or proceeding.
rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling or language:
the violence of his hatred.
damage through distortion or unwarranted alteration:
to do editorial violence to a text.
Origin of violence
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin violentia; see violent, -ence
Related forms
antiviolence, adjective
counterviolence, noun
self-violence, noun
1. might, power, impact, fury. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for violence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In his violence Philip tore at his breast, and dragged something from beneath his shirt.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • In view of the violence you made use of, I consider that you owe my son an apology.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • But he regretted his violence and told her so, which was fatal, or so it seemed to me.

    Margarita's Soul Ingraham Lovell
  • I don't know what to write, about your answering that man of violence.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • In the Asiatic Cusha-Dwip they supported themselves by violence and rapine.

    The God-Idea of the Ancients Eliza Burt Gamble
British Dictionary definitions for violence


the exercise or an instance of physical force, usually effecting or intended to effect injuries, destruction, etc
powerful, untamed, or devastating force: the violence of the sea
great strength of feeling, as in language, etc; fervour
an unjust, unwarranted, or unlawful display of force, esp such as tends to overawe or intimidate
do violence to
  1. to inflict harm upon; damage or violate: they did violence to the prisoners
  2. to distort or twist the sense or intention of: the reporters did violence to my speech
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin violentia impetuosity, from violentusviolent
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
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Word Origin and History for violence

late 13c., "physical force used to inflict injury or damage," from Anglo-French and Old French violence, from Latin violentia "vehemence, impetuosity," from violentus "vehement, forcible," probably related to violare (see violation). Weakened sense of "improper treatment" is attested from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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