Synonyms & Antonyms of force

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 to cause (a person) to give in to pressure
  • the public outcry from the scandal forced the mayor to resign
  • road construction forced them to take an alternate route

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2 to engage in sexual activity and especially intercourse with a person unwilling or unable to give consent
  • was accused of forcing a woman

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  • date rape
  • gang rape



Synonyms & Antonyms of force (Entry 2 of 2)

1 a body of persons at work or available for work
  • the entire force of the shipyard will be needed to get this government order done on time

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2 the use of power to impose one's will on another
  • a cruel tyrant who disbanded the parliament and ruled by force

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3 the ability to exert effort for the accomplishment of a task
  • got through the college board exams by sheer force of will

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Antonyms for force

5 the quality of an utterance that provokes interest and produces an effect
  • expressed the full force of her frustration with her son for his reckless behavior

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7 a body of officers of the law
  • the police detective retired after 23 years on the force

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8 the number of individuals or amount of something available at any given time
  • the great debate during the Cold War was whether the nation's missile force was adequate

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About force

How is the word force different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of force are coerce, compel, constrain, and oblige. While all these words 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

In what contexts can coerce take the place of force?

The meanings of coerce and force largely overlap; however, coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure.

coerced into signing over the rights

When would compel be a good substitute for force?

While in some cases nearly identical to force, compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force.

compelled to admit my mistake

When is it sensible to use constrain instead of force?

While the synonyms constrain and force are close in meaning, constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice.

constrained by conscience

When could oblige be used to replace force?

The words oblige and force are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty.

felt obliged to go

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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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Cite this Entry

“Force.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on force

Nglish: Translation of force for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of force for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about force


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