force

noun
\ ˈfȯrs How to pronounce force (audio) \

Definition of force

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : strength or energy exerted or brought to bear : cause of motion or change : active power the forces of nature the motivating force in her life
(2) capitalized used with a number to indicate the strength of the wind according to the Beaufort scale a Force 10 hurricane
b : moral or mental strength I was impressed by the force of his character.
c : capacity to persuade or convince the force of the argument
2a : military strength
b(1) : a body (as of troops or ships) assigned to a military purpose a force of 20,000 soldiers
(2) forces plural : the whole military strength (as of a nation)
c : a body of persons or things available for a particular end a labor force the missile force
d : an individual or group having the power of effective action join forces to prevent violence a force in politics
e often capitalized : police force usually used with the After his military service, he joined the force.
3 : violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing Those who do not respond to kindness must yield to force.
4a : an agency or influence that if applied to a free body results chiefly in an acceleration of the body and sometimes in elastic deformation and other effects
b : any of the natural influences (such as electromagnetism (see electromagnetism sense 2a), gravity, the strong force, and the weak force) that exist especially between particles and determine the structure of the universe
5 : the quality of conveying impressions intensely in writing or speech stated the objectives with force
6 baseball : force-out
in force
1 : in great numbers picnickers were out in force
2 : valid, operative the ban remains in force

force

verb
forced; forcing

Definition of force (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to do violence to especially : rape
2 : to compel by physical, moral, or intellectual means
3 : to make or cause especially through natural or logical necessity forced to admit my error the last minute goal forced overtime
4a : to press, drive, pass, or effect against resistance or inertia force your way through
b : to impose or thrust urgently, importunately, or inexorably force unwanted attentions on a coworker
5 : to achieve or win by strength in struggle or violence: such as
a : to win one's way into force a castle forced the mountain passes
b : to break open or through force a lock
6a : to raise or accelerate to the utmost forcing the pace
b : to produce only with unnatural or unwilling effort forced a smile
c : to wrench, strain, or use (language) with marked unnaturalness and lack of ease
7a : to hasten the rate of progress or growth of
b : to bring (plants) to maturity out of the normal season forcing lilies for Easter
8 : to induce (a particular bid or play by another player) in a card game by some conventional act, play, bid, or response
9a : to cause (a runner in baseball) to be put out on a force-out
b : to cause (a run) to be scored in baseball by giving a base on balls when the bases are full
force one's hand
: to cause one to act precipitously : force one to reveal one's purpose or intention

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Other Words from force

Noun

forceless \ ˈfȯrs-​ləs How to pronounce force (audio) \ adjective

Verb

forcer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for force

Noun

power, force, energy, strength, might mean the ability to exert effort. power may imply latent or exerted physical, mental, or spiritual ability to act or be acted upon. the awesome power of flowing water force implies the actual effective exercise of power. used enough force to push the door open energy applies to power expended or capable of being transformed into work. a worker with boundless energy strength applies to the quality or property of a person or thing that makes possible the exertion of force or the withstanding of strain, pressure, or attack. use weight training to build your strength might implies great or overwhelming power or strength. the belief that might makes right

Verb

force, compel, coerce, constrain, oblige mean to make someone or something yield. force is the general term and implies the overcoming of resistance by the exertion of strength, power, or duress. forced to flee for their lives compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force. compelled to admit my mistake coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure. coerced into signing over the rights constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice. constrained by conscience oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty. felt obliged to go

Examples of force in a Sentence

Noun The front of the car took the full force of the collision. instruments used to measure the force of the wind The police were accused of using excessive force when they made the arrest. We discourage the use of force. He used brute force to open the door. I was impressed by the force of her personality. Verb They forced us to work long hours without pay. The flooding forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes. After seeing the evidence, I was forced to admit my error. I am forced to conclude that more funding will be necessary. The pilot was forced to land when one of the plane's engines caught fire. The scandal forced his resignation. Lack of time may eventually force a compromise. They are trying to force a vote on this issue. The runner was forced out of bounds. Their car was forced off the road.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Citing disturbing video of Floyd's final moments, prosecutors say Chauvin unintentionally killed Floyd while using excessive force during an arrest on May 25, 2020. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Opening statements are set to begin in Derek Chauvin's trial for the death of George Floyd," 29 Mar. 2021 When the Magna earthquake shook the Salt Lake Valley last March, tiles and bricks fell out of the ceiling at West Lake STEM Junior High with such force that the doors at one entryway were blocked and wouldn’t open without a pry bar. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "State leaders have known for decades that Utah kids could die in unsafe schools during an earthquake. They’ve taken little action.," 28 Mar. 2021 Texas has had its own high-profile cases in which law enforcement has been accused of using excessive force after a person of color has died. Washington Post, "Texas lawmakers consider major criminal justice changes in George Floyd’s name," 25 Mar. 2021 The court’s ruling, issued today (March 25), holds that police may not violate someone’s Constitutional rights by using excessive force if that individual is able to escape. Donna Owens, Essence, "Supreme Court Reaffirms Constitutional Protections for People When Officers Use Excessive Force," 25 Mar. 2021 Military leaders say that a human will always be involved in decisions about using deadly force. Will Knight, Wired, "AI Could Enable 'Swarm Warfare' for Tomorrow's Fighter Jets," 22 Mar. 2021 Also in Cleveland, a police officer suspected of using excessive force in three incidents during protests last summer will not face felony charges. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "When will the NFL and Northeast Ohio civic leaders finally provide some details about the draft? The Wake Up podcast," 19 Mar. 2021 After the Vineland, N.J., officers involved in the encounter were cleared by a grand jury and their own department, Mr. White’s family filed a $10 million wrongful-death lawsuit in federal court, accusing one officer of using excessive force. Tracey Tully, New York Times, "Judges Juggle Over 2,700 Cases Each as Families Wait for Day in Court," 17 Mar. 2021 The department allowed the situation to spiral out of control, using force against nonviolent protestors and arresting committers of minor offenses, the report concluded. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "'Sames issues have arisen again and again': LAPD mishandled George Floyd protests last summer, report finds," 16 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday his government did not force back those who entered the country. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Children among the dead and injured in Myanmar military airstrikes, say activists," 31 Mar. 2021 Don’t force me to go to the bullpen or bring in a pinch-hitter. Phil Blair, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Basically speaking, it’s best to stick with the basics," 22 Mar. 2021 But the Hawkeyes don’t force many turnovers and are ranked 13th in the Big Ten and 240th nationally in three-point defense (34.8%). oregonlive, "What to know about Iowa, Oregon’s 2nd-round opponent in NCAA Tournament," 21 Mar. 2021 That means a creditor cannot force sale of the homestead to pay general debts of Dan’s estate. Dallas News, "The widow’s right: Homestead and the right of occupancy," 21 Mar. 2021 The Dragons didn’t force any passes or allow the Colts to string together many stops. Phillip Steinmetz, The Courier-Journal, "No. 8 DeSales uses fourth-quarter run to defeat Doss 68-64, advances to 22nd District championship," 17 Mar. 2021 That means there will no longer be any operating limits for businesses or other establishments, and local governments and law enforcement officers cannot force a person to wear a mask in public. San Antonio Express-News, "Express Briefing: 'The Eyes of Texas' had 'no racist intent,' UT panel says. Now what?," 10 Mar. 2021 Perhaps this determination would crack in the face of even direr conditions, but a mass famine did not force the regime to abandon its nuclear program in the 1990s. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?," 8 Mar. 2021 For the most part, Covid-19 didn’t force too many changes. Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone, "What the 2021 Grammy Awards Will Look Like," 7 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'force.' 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 force

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for force

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *fortia, from Latin fortis strong

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Time Traveler for force

Time Traveler

The first known use of force was in the 14th century

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Statistics for force

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Force.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/force. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for force

force

noun

English Language Learners Definition of force

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical strength, power, or effect
: power or violence used on a person or thing
: strength or power that is not physical

force

verb

English Language Learners Definition of force (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (someone) do something that he or she does not want to do
: to make it necessary for (someone) to do something
: to make (something) necessary

force

noun
\ ˈfȯrs How to pronounce force (audio) \

Kids Definition of force

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : power that has an effect on something the force of the wind the force of her personality
2 : the state of existing and being enforced That law is still in force.
3 : a group of people available for a particular purpose a police force the work force
4 : power or violence used on a person or thing He opened the door by force.
5 : an influence (as a push or pull) that tends to produce a change in the speed or direction of motion of something the force of gravity

force

verb
forced; forcing

Kids Definition of force (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make someone or something do something His tribe … had been forced to leave Utah …— John Reynolds Gardiner, Stone Fox
2 : to get, make, or move by using physical power Police forced their way into the room.
3 : to break open using physical power We forced the door.
4 : to speed up the development of I'm forcing flower bulbs.

force

noun
\ ˈfō(ə)rs, ˈfȯ(ə)rs How to pronounce force (audio) \

Medical Definition of force

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an agency or influence that if applied to a free body results chiefly in an acceleration of the body and sometimes in elastic deformation and other effects

forcé

Medical Definition of forcé (Entry 2 of 2)

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force

noun

Legal Definition of force

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a cause of motion, activity, or change
intervening force
: a force that acts after another's negligent act or omission has occurred and that causes injury to another : intervening cause at cause
irresistible force
: an unforeseeable event especially that prevents performance of an obligation under a contract : force majeure
2 : a body of persons available for a particular end the labor force specifically : police force usually used with the
3 : violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing
constructive force
: the use of threats or intimidation for the purpose of gaining control over or preventing resistance from another
deadly force
: force that is intended to cause or that carries a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury — compare nondeadly force in this entry

Note: As a general rule, deadly force may be used without incurring criminal or tort liability when one reasonably believes that one's life or safety is in danger. In some cases, a person's unreasonable belief in the need for deadly force has been used to justify reducing a charge of murder to voluntary manslaughter. Additionally, a police officer is generally justified in using deadly force to prevent the escape of a suspect who threatens the officer or who the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a violent crime.

lawful force
: force that is considered justified under the law and does not create criminal or tort liability — compare unlawful force in this entry
moderate force \ ˈmä-​də-​rət-​ \
: nondeadly force in this entry
nondeadly force
: force that is intended to cause minor bodily injury also : a threat (as by the brandishing of a gun) to use deadly force

called also moderate force

— compare deadly force in this entry
reasonable force
: Lawful force that is reasonably necessary to accomplish a particular end (as preventing theft of one's property)
unlawful force
: force that is not justified under the law and therefore is considered a tort or crime or both — compare lawful force in this entry
in force
: valid and operative a life insurance policy in force
forced; forcing

Legal Definition of force (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to compel by physical means often against resistance forced him into the car
b : to break open or through forced the door — see also forcible entry
2 : to impose or require by law — see also elective share, forced heir at heir, forced sale at sale

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