per·​force | \ pər-ˈfȯrs How to pronounce perforce (audio) \

Definition of perforce

1 : by force of circumstances or of necessity These images are perforce in black and white because there is no color at x-ray wavelengths.Smithsonian All our perceptions of China are perforce limited, partial, biased by our cultural and political perspectives.— Marilyn B. Young With no new novel in the offing, Harry addicts will perforce focus their anticipation during the coming year on the film version of the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone— Paul Gray
2 obsolete : by physical coercion … he rushed into my house and took perforce my ring away.— William Shakespeare

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Synonyms & Antonyms for perforce



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Did You Know?

English speakers borrowed "par force" from Anglo-French in the 14th century. Par meant "by" (from Latin per) and the Anglo-French word force had the same meaning as its English equivalent, which was already in use by then. At first, "perforce" meant quite literally "by physical coercion." That meaning is no longer used today, but it was still prevalent in William Shakespeare's lifetime (1564-1616). "He rush'd into my house and took perforce my ring away," wrote the Bard in The Comedy of Errors. The "force of circumstances" sense of "perforce" had also come into use by Shakespeare's day. In Henry IV, Part 2, we find ". . . your health; the which, if you give o'er to stormy passion, must perforce decay."

Examples of perforce in a Sentence

we must, perforce, deal with this issue immediately, as procrastination is not an option
Recent Examples on the Web Harder, because both were (or still are, in Bissinger’s case) received in the world as heterosexual, successful, wealthy white men—an armor whose cracking is perforce traumatic, shameful, and almost always hidden. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "The Soul-Searching of Buzz Bissinger," 15 Oct. 2019 Someone who loses his career is perforce no longer in an alliance with the employer. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "Notes on Cancel Culture," 1 July 2019 Take the Best Revival of a Musical category, which this year will perforce be a showdown between Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! Adam Green, Vogue, "Takeaways From the 2019 Tony Nominations: Downtown Comes to Broadway," 30 Apr. 2019 The search zone is the creation of the ATSB, and is perforce somewhat arbitrary. Bucky Mcmahon, Esquire, "If Anyone Finds MH370, It Will Be the Men on This Ship," 14 Sep. 2015 What might be called the Falstaff question—is this man a harmless buffoon, or a dangerous threat to the world order?—has, perforce, become a national preoccupation. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "Gregory Doran and Antony Sher discuss the political resonance of Shakespeare’s plays.," 2 May 2016 This man is perforce a tyrant, and the people cease to owe him allegiance. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Words Matter," 31 July 2014

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for perforce

Middle English par force, from Anglo-French, by force

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

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Cite this Entry

“Perforce.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of perforce

formal + literary used to say that something is necessary or must be done

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