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 forceless (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: Verb

The Academy has been forced to backtrack on a lot of its most eyebrow-raising decisions (RIP, Popular Film Oscar), but one has stuck: For the first time in 30 years, this year’s Oscars will go ahead without a host. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why the 2019 Oscars Don't Have a Host—And the Disaster That Ensued Last Time It Happened," 24 Feb. 2019 Qualcomm’s exclusive collaboration with Samsung on the 835 and 845 forced the G7 to arrive months late, and the G6 to use an older chip. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "LG G8 hands-on: Could the future of smartphones be in the palm of my hand?," 24 Feb. 2019 Gone are the days of overstuffed buffets, forced formal wear, or Broadway shows. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Richard Branson Taps Top Designers for Virgin Voyages’ First Cruise Line," 20 Feb. 2019 Sears and Kmart have also struggled financially, and have been forced to close many locations. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Payless Fans Are Devastated After Learning All U.S. Stores Are Closing," 17 Feb. 2019 Chefs in the second category spend their time seeking out the most talented farmers, fishermen, and artisans, but as American food has steadily improved, the chefs who rely on great products have been forced to work harder to surprise us. Ruth Reichl, Town & Country, "This Scarlet Prawn Is the Best Seafood You Can Eat," 30 Jan. 2019 Elsewhere, federal workers deprived of pay have been forced to take out loans to manage their personal finances, while the Senate is set to vote today on a pair of bills that could potentially end the shutdown. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Flight Attendants Union President: Government Shutdown Is 'Disaster' for Aviation Safety," 24 Jan. 2019 Everyone has their usual perfume routine, but def avoid the common mistake of rubbing your wrists together after a spritz .Doing this forces the top notes to disappear faster than intended, so your fragrance won't last as long. 44. Seventeen.com Editors, Seventeen, "50 Life-Changing Prom Beauty Tips You Haven't Heard Before," 19 Dec. 2018 The pilot, which could last up to two years, would slash the fees that exchanges can charge for trades in hundreds of stocks—effectively forcing them to cut rebates for those stocks too. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Big Three Stock Exchanges Sue SEC Over Trading-Fee Plan," 15 Feb. 2019

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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Statistics for force

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Time Traveler for force

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on force

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with force

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for force

Spanish Central: Translation of force

Nglish: Translation of force for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of force for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about force

Comments on force

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