Word of the Day : March 21, 2014


adverb per-FORSS


: by force of circumstances

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."


The author of the history was a court historian and his account is perforce biased in favor of the aristocracy.

"Beyond an initial campaign or two, European monarchs lack the money to continue their wars and must perforce borrow it from somewhere." - From a blog by Kenneth Anderson on WashingtonPost.com, February 9, 2014

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "probity," our Word of the Day from February 17? The answer is …


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