Definition of perforce
1 obsolete : by physical coercion
2 : by force of circumstances
perforce was our Word of the Day on 03/21/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of perforce in a Sentence
we must, perforce, deal with this issue immediately, as procrastination is not an option
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."
Origin and Etymology of perforce
Middle English par force, from Anglo-French, by force
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
PERFORCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of perforce for English Language Learners
—used to say that something is necessary or must be done
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