Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. Law To withhold (something) by force from the rightful owner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To withhold land unlawfully from its true owner or from any other person who has a right to the possession of it, after one has lawfully entered and taken possession of it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To keep from the rightful owner; to withhold wrongfully the possession of, as of lands or a freehold.
  • transitive v. To resist the execution of the law; to oppose by force, as an officer in the execution of his duty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In law:
  • To withhold from or keep out of lawful possession, as of an estate.
  • In Scots law, to resist (an officer of the law in the execution of his official duty).
  • n. Deforcement.

Etymologies

Middle English deforcen, from Anglo-Norman deforcer, from Old French desforcier : des-, de- + forcier, to force (from Vulgar Latin *fortiāre, from Latin fortis, strong; see bhergh-2 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights was a tour deforce.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Acting AG:

  • Those who nowadays introduce such flavours into beverages deforce our sense of pleasure by habituating us to them, until, from two distinct kinds of sensations combined, pleasure arises as it might from one simple kind.

    On Sense and the Sensible

  • But this short and easy method with those who take their stand on coercion and illegality was scouted by the Radical M.P. He pointed out with the same lucidity and precision with which he would have stated a case to a leading counsel, the facts (first) that the right-of-way was not only claimed, but existed; (second) that the threatening notice was inoperative; (third) that an action lay against any person who attempted to deforce the passage of any individual; (fourth) that the road in question was the only way to kirk and market for a very considerable part of the strath, that therefore the right-of-way was inalienable; and

    Bog-Myrtle and Peat Tales Chiefly of Galloway Gathered from the Years 1889 to 1895

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