In U.S. law, what constitutes a "violent felony?" We can look to federal statutes for the most widely applicable definition. According to Section 924(e)(2) of Title 18 of US Code (a section added under the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984),
(B) the term "violent felony" means any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, or any act of juvenile delinquency involving the use or carrying of a firearm, knife, or destructive device that would be punishable by imprisonment for such term if committed by an adult, that -Note the dual criteria for the phrase. First, the punishment must meet a precise minimum of severity, and second, that the crime itself involves force or the threat (or even "serious potential risk") of force or injury.
(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
(ii) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another
In U.S. sentencing guidelines, felonies range from Class E (1-5 year sentence) to Class A (life imprisonment or the death penalty). Examples of violent felonies include murder, kidnapping, arson, crimes against children, armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape, firearm use in certain cases, or firearm possession in certain cases.
Lastly, it's probably preferable to use define this legal term of art as a phrase, rather than by combining dictionary definitions, since it'll help clarify the debate and place it into a specific, research-ready legal context.