When you protest peacefully or work for social changes without resorting to violence, that's nonviolence. Two of the most famous proponents of nonviolence were Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nonviolence is a principle, a personal value system, or a way of life. People who practice nonviolence live their lives harming as few other people (or animals, often) as possible. Many political protesters use nonviolence as a tactic during demonstrations, such as sit-ins, die-ins, and other forms of civil disobedience. Once Gandhi used the word nonviolence in this way in 1920, the word became associated with social and political activism.

Definitions of nonviolence

n peaceful resistance to a government by fasting or refusing to cooperate

nonviolent resistance, passive resistance
hunger strike
a voluntary fast undertaken as a means of protest
the form of nonviolent resistance initiated in India by Mahatma Gandhi in order to oppose British rule and to hasten political reforms
Type of:
direct action
a protest action by labor or minority groups to obtain their demands

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.