Ask Difference

Transgression vs. Violation — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Urooj Arif — Updated on May 21, 2024
Transgression refers to breaking a moral or ethical code, while violation involves breaching a law, rule, or agreement.
Transgression vs. Violation — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Transgression and Violation


Key Differences

Transgression typically involves the breaking of moral, ethical, or social codes. It is often used in a context where there is a deviation from accepted standards of behavior. Violation, on the other hand, refers to the breach of formal laws, rules, or agreements. It is more legalistic and specific, often involving explicit rules or regulations.
Transgression carries a connotation of moral wrongdoing and is often associated with personal or societal values. It suggests a deeper, more subjective breach of conduct. Violation, however, implies a clear-cut infraction against established rules and is more objective in nature.
Transgression can be seen as a broader term encompassing various forms of misconduct, not necessarily codified by law but by ethical or moral standards. Violation is narrower, confined to specific rules and regulations that are formally established and enforceable.
In religious contexts, transgression is commonly used to describe sin or actions that go against divine laws. Violation, while it can also be used in religious texts, is more often employed in legal and regulatory frameworks.

Comparison Chart


Breaking moral or ethical codes
Breaching laws, rules, or agreements


Moral, ethical, social norms
Legal, regulatory frameworks


Moral wrongdoing
Legal infraction


Broader, subjective
Narrower, objective


Lying, cheating
Speeding, contract breach

Compare with Definitions


An offense against divine law.
In many religions, adultery is considered a serious transgression.


The act of breaking or disregarding a law.
Speeding is a common traffic violation.


A violation of a social code.
Gossiping about colleagues is a social transgression.


The act of disrespecting a legal obligation.
Not paying taxes is a violation of federal law.


Deviating from norms of behavior.
Her transgression in speaking out of turn surprised everyone.


Breaking a formal commitment or contract.
Failing to deliver the goods on time is a violation of the contract terms.


An act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offence
Few ministers now stand down because of sexual transgressions
I'll be keeping an eye out for further transgressions
Her transgression of genteel etiquette


Infringement of rights or privacy.
Unauthorized surveillance is a violation of privacy rights.


A violation of a law, principle, or duty.


Breach of a rule or agreement.
The company faced penalties for a violation of environmental regulations.


The exceeding of due bounds or limits.


The act or an instance of violating or the condition of being violated
A violation of the law.
The violation of a country's neutrality.


A relative rise in sea level resulting in deposition of marine strata over terrestrial strata.


The act or an instance of violating or the condition of being violated.


A violation of a law, duty or commandment.


An infraction or a failure to follow a rule.


An act that goes beyond generally accepted boundaries.


Rape; sexual activity forced on another person without their consent.


(geology) A relative rise in sea level resulting in deposition of marine strata over terrestrial strata.


The act of violating, treating with violence, or injuring; the state of being violated.


The act of transgressing, or of passing over or beyond any law, civil or moral; the violation of a law or known principle of rectitude; breach of command; fault; offense; crime; sin.
Forgive thy people . . . all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee.
What rests, but that the mortal sentence passOn his transgression, death denounced that day ?
The transgression is in the stealer.


Infringement; transgression; nonobservance; as, the violation of law or positive command, of covenants, promises, etc.


The act of transgressing; the violation of a law or a duty or moral principle;
The boy was punished for the transgressions of his father


An act of irreverence or desecration; profanation or contemptuous treatment of sacred things; as, the violation of a church.


The spreading of the sea over land as evidenced by the deposition of marine strata over terrestrial strata


Interruption, as of sleep or peace; disturbance.


The action of going beyond or overstepping some boundary or limit


Ravishment; rape; outrage.


An act that goes against a moral or ethical principle.
His transgression against honesty cost him the trust of his friends.


A crime less serious than a felony


A breach of accepted conduct.
Skipping work without a valid reason is seen as a transgression by the company.


An act that disregards an agreement or a right;
He claimed a violation of his rights under the Fifth Amendment


Entry to another's property without right or permission


A disrespectful act


The crime of forcing a woman to submit to sexual intercourse against her will

Common Curiosities

What is a transgression?

A transgression is an act that breaks a moral or ethical code.

Can transgression be a legal term?

It is less common but can be used in legal contexts to imply moral wrongdoing.

What defines a violation?

A violation is the act of breaching a law, rule, or agreement.

Can transgression refer to minor offenses?

Yes, transgressions can range from minor ethical breaches to serious moral offenses.

Are transgressions always immoral?

Yes, transgressions involve breaking moral or ethical codes.

Can violation be used in moral contexts?

It is less common, but violation can describe breaches of moral codes in a formal sense.

What is an example of a violation?

Speeding is an example of a traffic law violation.

What is a religious transgression?

It is an act that goes against divine or religious laws.

Is violation always related to laws?

Yes, violations typically pertain to laws, rules, or formal agreements.

Can transgression involve ethical principles?

Yes, transgressions often involve ethical principles and social norms.

What does legal violation imply?

It implies a breach of established legal rules or regulations.

Can transgressions be forgiven?

Depending on the context, transgressions can be forgiven, especially in moral or religious frameworks.

What happens after a violation?

It can result in legal penalties or consequences.

Is violation objective?

Yes, it refers to clear-cut breaches of specific rules or laws.

Is transgression subjective?

Yes, it often depends on individual or societal moral standards.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Melatonin vs. Serotonin
Next Comparison
Buttermilk vs. Whey

Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms