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

v fail to agree with; be in violation of; as of rules or patterns

“This sentence violates the rules of syntax”
break, go against
conform to
fly in the face of, fly in the teeth of
go against

v act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises

violate the basic laws or human civilization”
breach, break, go against, infract, offend, transgress
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

v destroy

“Don't violate my garden”
violate my privacy”
Type of:
disturb, touch
tamper with

v destroy and strip of its possession

despoil, plunder, rape, spoil
Type of:
destroy, ruin
destroy completely; damage irreparably

v force (someone) to have sex against their will

rape (someone) successively with several attackers
Type of:
assail, assault, attack, set on
attack someone physically or emotionally

v violate the sacred character of a place or language

violate the sanctity of the church”
desecrate, outrage, profane
Type of:
assail, assault, attack, set on
attack someone physically or emotionally

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