force majeure

force ma·​jeure | \ ˌfȯrs-mä-ˈzhər How to pronounce force majeure (audio) , -mə- \

Definition of force majeure

1 : superior or irresistible force
2 : an event or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled — compare act of god

Keep scrolling for more

Did you know?

Force majeure translates literally from French as superior force. In English, the term is often used in line with its literal French meaning, but it has other uses as well, including one that has roots in a principle of French law. In business circles, "force majeure" describes those uncontrollable events (such as war, labor stoppages, or extreme weather) that are not the fault of any party and that make it difficult or impossible to carry out normal business. A company may insert a force majeure clause into a contract to absolve itself from liability in the event it cannot fulfill the terms of a contract (or if attempting to do so will result in loss or damage of goods) for reasons beyond its control.

Examples of force majeure in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is a growth sector, expanding incrementally as warming temperatures increase the frequency of force majeure. Justin Beal, Curbed, 11 Sep. 2021 Ford wrote in his ruling that Under Armour failed to establish that its termination of the agreement was clearly permitted under a force majeure clause. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2021 The latest round of talks was triggered when MLS owners in December invoked a force majeure clause in the previous CBA. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 3 Aug. 2021 If a new government order comes out that actually restricts you from doing something, then that would constitute force majeure. Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone, 21 Apr. 2021 These weather events will all likely constitute events of force majeure and having a contract that relieves the manufacturer or supplier of liability for performance will not help a franchisor recover from supply chain disruption. Joyce Mazero, Forbes, 29 June 2021 Lamb counseled promoters of independent festivals on strategies for cancellations, ticket refunds, insurance and force majeure, the conditions that prevented parties from fulfilling contracts. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 5 Apr. 2021 The city, via the force majeure clause, waived $377,668.96 in payment from the baseball team. Paul Gattis |, al, 25 May 2021 EasyJet pointed out that the contract contained no force majeure clause. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 18 May 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of force majeure

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for force majeure

French, superior force

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About force majeure

Time Traveler for force majeure

Time Traveler

The first known use of force majeure was in 1883

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About force majeure

Dictionary Entries Near force majeure

force main

force majeure


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for force majeure

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Force majeure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for force majeure

force majeure

force ma·​jeure | \ ˈfȯrs-ma-ˈzhər, -mȧ-ˈzhœ̅r How to pronounce force majeure (audio) \

Legal Definition of force majeure

1 : superior or insuperable force
2 : an event (as war, labor strike, or extreme weather) or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled : fortuitous event — compare act of god, inevitable accident

History and Etymology for force majeure

French, superior force


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!