also nonviolent, "using peaceful means," especially to bring about change in a society, 1896, from non- + violent (adj.). From 1920 in reference to "principle or practice of abstaining from violence," in writings of M.K. Gandhi.
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. [Gandhi, "Non-violence in Peace and War," 1948]