armed forces

plural noun

Definition of armed forces

: the combined military, naval, and air forces of a nation

called also armed services

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Synonyms for armed forces


colors, military, service, troops

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Examples of armed forces in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This spring like every spring, tens of thousands of 21-year-old men are subjected to a lottery to determine who will be conscripted into the country’s armed forces. James Hookway, WSJ, "Thailand’s Annual Draft Highlights Growing Unease Over Military Rule," 18 Apr. 2019 But on Thursday morning, the Maltese armed forces stormed the vessel and detained five men suspected of leading the hijacking, taking them away in handcuffs when the ship docked in Valletta, the capital. Stephen Calleja, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Captain feared death in migrant hijack at sea," 30 Mar. 2019 The armed forces gambled on Operation Watchtower, a joint air-land-sea operation in the Solomon Islands, designed to land U.S. Marines and Army troops to evict the Japanese and set up airbases. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Explorers Have Found the Wreckage of the Sunken World War II Aircraft Carrier USS Wasp," 14 Mar. 2019 The House this week passed a war-powers resolution directing the removal of U.S. armed forces involved in the conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015 and pushed millions to the brink of starvation. Summer Said, WSJ, "Saudi Crown Prince Pivots to Asia from Critical West," 16 Feb. 2019 More than 5,000 members of the armed forces and federal police are now focused on pipeline security. Amy Guthrie, The Seattle Times, "Mexico president declares gains in fight against fuel theft," 14 Jan. 2019 This year’s midterms included a raft of women emphasizing their time in the armed forces. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2020 Presidential Race—So Far," 3 Jan. 2019 For years, schools, workplaces, and even the armed forces have banned these natural hairstyles. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Bantu knots are the latest natural hairstyle at the center of a workplace dispute," 20 Dec. 2018 The armed forces dominate the gold trade and the government has shown no political will to contain the devastation of pristine areas, the report said. Kejal Vyas |, WSJ, "Desperate Venezuelans Dig Up Paradise in Search of Gold," 20 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'armed forces.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of armed forces

1625, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for armed forces

Last Updated

1 May 2019

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Time Traveler for armed forces

The first known use of armed forces was in 1625

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More Definitions for armed forces

armed forces


English Language Learners Definition of armed forces

: the military organizations (such as the army, navy, and air force) of a country

armed forces

noun plural

Kids Definition of armed forces

: the military, naval, and air forces of a nation

More from Merriam-Webster on armed forces

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for armed forces

Nglish: Translation of armed forces for Spanish Speakers

Comments on armed forces

What made you want to look up armed forces? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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