Definition of violent in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈvī(ə)lənt/


1Using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something: a violent confrontation with riot police
More example sentences
  • At one point, things threatened to turn violent, but police arrived and calmed the volatile situation down.
  • He began to turn violent against my mum, smashing up the house and threatening her.
  • Not because he might turn violent - he has never been violent towards me - but he often conceals things from me.
brutal, vicious, savage, rough, aggressive, abusive, physically abusive, threatening, fierce, physical, wild, ferocious;
barbarous, barbaric, thuggish, pugnacious, cutthroat, smash-mouth, homicidal, murderous, cruel
powerful, forceful, hard, sharp, smart, strong, vigorous, mighty, hefty;
savage, ferocious, brutal, vicious
1.1(Especially of an emotion or unpleasant or destructive natural force) very strong or powerful: violent dislike the violent eruption killed 1,700 people
More example sentences
  • Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity, ranging from mild irritation to violent rage.
  • But as their relationship developed, it became clear he had an alcohol problem which set off a violent temper.
  • No other individual currently on our screens and in our tabloids can solicit such violent hatred from my otherwise amiable self.
intense, extreme, strong, powerful, vehement, intemperate, unbridled, uncontrollable, ungovernable, inordinate, consuming, passionate
1.2(Of a color) vivid.
Example sentences
  • Van Gogh expressed psychological turmoil through expressionist contrasts of violent colour.
  • He was covered from head to toe in violent pink paint.
  • 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
1.3 Law Involving an unlawful exercise or exhibition of force.
Example sentences
  • Three of the defendants pleaded guilty to violent disorder last week.
  • The plaintiff was a man with a history of mental disorder and seriously violent behaviour.
  • Indulge in music, sex, dance, exercise, violent video games, bright lights, whatever.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: vi·o·lent

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.