Violence “Legally” Defined

The following definitions for “violence” are taken from Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition), Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (6th edition), Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition), and “Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:”




Physical force applied so as to injure or damage [Alexander v State, 40 Tex Crim 395, 411, 49 SW 229, 50 SW 716].

The snatching or jerking the property of another from his person, where such property is so attached to his person or clothing as to afford resistance, or all antecedent or contemporaneous struggle over the taking of the property will constitute that violence essential for robbery, but a mere filching of loose property from the pocket with no more force than is necessary to lift and remove the property from the pocket is not a taking by force or violence, and is a mere larceny [See State v Parker, 262 Mo 169, 170 SW 1121].



The abuse of force [Theorie des Lois Criminelles, 32]. The force which is employed against common right, against the laws, and against public liberty [Merl. h. t, 2]. In cases of robbery, in order to convict the accused, it is requisite to prove that the act was done with violence; but this violence is not confined to an actual assault of the person, by beating, knocking down, or forcibly wresting from him on the contrary, whatever goes to intimidate or overawe, by the apprehension of personal violence, or by fear of life, with a view to compel the delivery of property equally falls within its limits [Alison, Pr. Cr. Law of Scotl. 228; 4 Binn. R. 379; 2 Russ. on Cr. 61; 1 Hale P. C. 553]. When an article is merely snatched, as by a sudden pull, even though a momentary force be exerted, it is not such violence as to constitute a robbery [2 East, P. C. 702; 2 Russ. Cr. 68; Dig. 4, 3, 3 and 3].



The term “violence” is synonymous with “physical force,” and the two are used interchangeably, in relation to assaults, by elementary writers on criminal law [State v. Wells, 31 Conn. 212).



1. Physical force; strength of action or motion; as the violence of a storm; the violence of a blow or of a conflict.

2. Moral force; vehemence. The critic attacked the work with violence.

3. Outrage; unjust force; crimes of all kinds.

            The earth was filled with violence [Gen. 6].

4. Eagerness; vehemence.

             You ask with violence.

5. Injury; infringement. Offer no violence to the laws, or to the rules of civility.

6. Injury; hurt.

            Do violence to no man [Luke 3].

7. Ravishment; rape.

             To do violence to or on, to attack; to murder.

             But, as it seems, did violence on herself.To do violence to, to outrage; to force; to injure.

             He does violence to his own opinions.

This entry was posted in "Legally" Defined Words. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s