Violate is a verb that describes actions that show no respect for people, laws, property, and customs. Drivers violate the law when they fail to stop at red lights, and people violate your privacy when they eavesdrop on your personal conversations.

Violate comes from the Latin word violatus which means "to break," as in a promise or oath. As members of our society, we make unspoken promises — to follow all laws, to help people if we can, or at the very least, not hurt them. So when we violate — laws, property, people's abilities to live safe, peaceful lives — we break the promises that come with being lawful citizens.

Definitions of violate
  1. verb
    fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns
    “This sentence violates the rules of syntax”
    synonyms: break, go against
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    conform to
    fly in the face of, fly in the teeth of
    go against
  2. verb
    act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    violate the basic laws or human civilization”
    synonyms: breach, break, go against, infract, offend, transgress
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    keep, observe
    conform one's action or practice to
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    sin, transgress, trespass
    commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law
    blunder, boob, drop the ball, goof, sin
    commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake
    conflict, contravene, infringe, run afoul
    go against, as of rules and laws
    break the law
    intrude, trespass
    enter unlawfully on someone's property
    yield to temptation or sin
    break, break in
    enter someone's (virtual or real) property in an unauthorized manner, usually with the intent to steal or commit a violent act
    type of:
    show a lack of respect for
  3. verb
    “Don't violate my garden”
    violate my privacy”
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    type of:
    disturb, touch
    tamper with
  4. verb
    destroy and strip of its possession
    synonyms: despoil, plunder, rape, spoil
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    type of:
    destroy, ruin
    destroy completely; damage irreparably
  5. verb
    force (someone) to have sex against their will
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    rape (someone) successively with several attackers
    type of:
    assail, assault, attack, set on
    attack someone physically or emotionally
  6. verb
    violate the sacred character of a place or language
    violate the sanctity of the church”
    synonyms: desecrate, outrage, profane
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    type of:
    assail, assault, attack, set on
    attack someone physically or emotionally
Word Family

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