American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The capacity to do work or cause physical change; energy, strength, or active power: the force of an explosion.
- n. Power made operative against resistance; exertion: use force in driving a nail.
- n. The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain: a confession obtained by force.
- n. Intellectual power or vigor, especially as conveyed in writing or speech.
- n. Moral strength.
- n. A capacity for affecting the mind or behavior; efficacy: the force of logical argumentation.
- n. One that possesses such capacity: the forces of evil.
- n. A body of persons or other resources organized or available for a certain purpose: a large labor force.
- n. A person or group capable of influential action: a retired senator who is still a force in national politics.
- n. Military strength.
- n. The entire military strength, as of a nation. Often used in the plural.
- n. A unit of a nation's military personnel, especially one deployed into combat: Our forces have at last engaged the enemy.
- n. Law Legal validity.
- n. Physics A vector quantity that tends to produce an acceleration of a body in the direction of its application.
- n. Baseball A force play.
- v. To compel through pressure or necessity: I forced myself to practice daily. He was forced to take a second job.
- v. To gain by the use of force or coercion: force a confession.
- v. To move or effect against resistance or inertia: forced my foot into the shoe.
- v. To inflict or impose relentlessly: He forced his ideas upon the group.
- v. To put undue strain on: She forced her voice despite being hoarse.
- v. To increase or accelerate (a pace, for example) to the maximum.
- v. To produce with effort and against one's will: force a laugh in spite of pain.
- v. To use (language) with obvious lack of ease and naturalness.
- v. To move, open, or clear by force: forced our way through the crowd.
- v. To break down or open by force: force a lock.
- v. To rape.
- v. Botany To cause to grow or mature by artificially accelerating normal processes.
- v. Baseball To put (a runner) out on a force play.
- v. Baseball To allow (a run) to be scored by walking a batter when the bases are loaded.
- v. Games To cause an opponent to play (a particular card).
- idiom. force (someone's) hand To force to act or speak prematurely or unwillingly.
- idiom. in force In full strength; in large numbers: Demonstrators were out in force.
- idiom. in force In effect; operative: a rule that is no longer in force.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In general, strength, physical or mental, material or spiritual; active power; vigor; might.
- n. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; coercion; violence; especially, violence to person or property. In law it implies either the exertion of physical power upon persons or things, or the exercise of constraint of the will by display of physical menace. Words do not constitute force in this sense, but gestures may. Force is implied in every case of trespass, disseizin, or rescue.
- n. Moral power to convince the mind; power to act as a motive or a reason; convincing power: as, the force of an argument.
- n. Power to bind or hold, as of a law, agreement, or contract.
- n. Value; significance; meaning; import: as, I do not see the force of your remark.
- n. Weight; matter; importance; consequence. Compare no force, below.
- n. A union of individuals and means for a common purpose; a body of persons prepared for joint action of any kind; especially, a military organization; an army or navy, or any distinct military aggregation: as, a force of workmen; a police force; the military and naval forces of a country; the party rallied its forces for the election.
- n. In physics: Strictly, the immediate cause of a change in the velocity or direction of motion of a body; a component acceleration, due to a special cause, paired with the mass of the moving body; a directed or vector quantity of the dimensions of a mass multiplied by an acceleration or rate of change of a velocity, this quantity representing the instantaneous effect of any definite cause affecting the motion of a body. The distinct mechanical apprehension of force is modern. Archimedes discovered the elements of the theory of the pressures upon bodies at rest, but it was not until the seventeenth century that, by the labors of mathematicians from Galileo to Newton, the general mode in which bodies move became sufficiently understood to give a perfectly definite meaning to the word, and indeed the development of the idea has not yet ceased. A particle infinitely remote from others, so that no special influences would work upon it, would retain a velocity constant in amount and direction. The effect of any cause is to produce an alteration of velocity; and when this happens the cause is said to exert force upon the particle. The explanation of what is meant by a force is dependent upon the mechanical notion of the composition of motions, according to which, for example, if a man walks on the deck of a ship, his motion relatively to the sea is said to be compounded of his motion relatively to the ship and of the motion of the ship relatively to the sea. In general terms, if a particle which at any instant is at any point of space, A, has a partial or component motion which at the end of a second would carry it to a point B, and at the same time has another component motion which would carry it in the same time to a point C, the result of the two motions will be that it is carried to a point D, such that ABCD is a parallelogram, as in the figure. It necessarily follows that accelerations of velocity are compounded in a similar manner: namely, if a particle is at any instant under such circumstances that according to a law of nature its velocity undergoes the acceleration represented by the line AB, while at the same time, owing to other circumstances, it undergoes another alteration represented by the line AC, these two alterations are compounded by the same principle; and if the point D completes the parallelogram ABCD, the alteration represented by the diagonal AD is the result of compounding the two other alterations. This is called the principle of the parallelogram of forces. The polygon of forces is merely a complicated application of the same principle, according to which, if the velocity of a particle experiences several simultaneous alterations, represented by all the successive sides but one of a polygon taken in one continuous order, the result is an alteration represented by the last side in the direction of the last point from the first. The operation of thus compounding several simultaneous changes of velocity is termed the composition of forces, the partial changes are termed components, and the result of the operation the resultant. When a body is under the influence of a force, it has what is called a tendency to motion, which consists in its actually receiving, under all circumstances, in each unit of time, so long as the force acts, a motion in a definite direction and of fixed amount, which motion is compounded with the motion already impressed upon the body, together with the effects of other forces to which it may be simultaneously subject. Thus, every body at the surface of the earth, in consequence of the force of gravity, actually receives an increase of downward velocity at the rate of 32 feet per second; and if it does not fall on the whole, it is because it is at the same time, in consequence of the elastic compression of the support upon which it rests, projected upward with the same increase of velocity per second. The component forces when due to definite causes are also called
impressed forces; the resultant of all of them is called the effective force. By the same principle, any alteration of velocity may be separated into several, and this is called the resolution of forces, although no one of the components may represent the total effect of any definite cause. When a velocity or alteration of velocity is thus resolved into three components at right angles to one another, each is termed the resultant resolved in that direction. By the law of action and reaction, whenever a body has its velocity altered owing to any cause, some other body has its velocity altered in precisely the opposite direction. The alterations are not of equal magnitude, but when each is multiplied by a quantity which is constant for each portion of matter undergoing an alteration of velocity—this constant being termed the mass or amount of matter—the two products are equal. All alterations of velocity take place gradually and continuously. The rate of change of velocity, together with its direction, coupled with or multiplied by the mass of the body undergoing the change of motion, is a force, properly so called, or accelerating force. According to this, the accepted view of the matter, force is nothing occult, but is simply the product of a mass by a component acceleration due to a definite position relatively to another body or to some other circumstance. Nevertheless, many writers regard force as an occult something which causes or explains the alterations of the velocities of bodies; and no writers who employ the word at all altogether avoid the use of phrases which seem to bear such a meaning. An impulsive force is the amount of a sudden finite change of motion multiplied by the mass of the moving body; it is not supposed there really are any such forces, but it is occasionally convenient to regard forces as impulsive. A force is defined by its intensity or amount, its direction, its point of application, and the time at which it exists. The point of application of a force is the particle which is immediately and directly affected by it.
- n. Loosely— Any mechanical cause or element. This use of the word, which dates from before the development of clear conceptions of dynamics, is now obsolete with physicists except in special connections. Older writers speak of momentum and even of inertia as a force. Such expressions, and even the reference to pressures as forces (except in the phrase centrifugal force), are now obsolete. On the other hand, accelerations are still frequently called
forces. Energy is now rarely termed force, except in the phrase living force (vis viva): thus, in technical language, it is no longer correct to speak of the force of the waves or of a cannon-ball, but of their power or energy. Special affections of matter giving rise to force, such as elasticity and electrification, are frequently called forces, although they are properly powers. Other phenomena, such as electricity, light, etc., are still loosely called forcesby some technical writers.
- n. Some influence or agency conceived of as analogous to physical forces: as, vital forces; social forces; economic forces; developmental forces.
- n. In billiards, a stroke on the cue-ba11 somewhat below the center, causing it to recoil after striking the object-ball.
- n. The upper die in a stamping-press.
- n. In an erroneous use, a repulsive force causing a revolving body to fly away from the center of revolution. Writers on attractions sometimes so use the word.
- n. A fictitious force repelling every particle of the earth from the axis by an amount equal to the centrifugal force in sense . With this hypothesis, and supposing the earth not to rotate, the statical effects are the same as in the actual case; but the dynamical effects are different.
- n. As used by many high authorities, the reaction of a moving body against the force which makes it move in a curved path. In this sense it is a real force. It does not, however, act upon the moving body, but upon the deflecting body; and, far from giving the former a tendency to fly away from the center, it is but an aspect of that stress which holds it to the curved trajectory. The centrifugal force in sense may be regarded as that in sense transferred from the deflecting to the deflected bodies.
- n. A bill for the protection of political and civil rights in the South. It became a law May 31st, 1870.
- n. A bill similar to , but of still more stringent character, enacted April 20th, 1871.
- n. See motive, a.
- To act effectively upon by force, physical, mental, or moral, in any manner; impel by force; compel; constrain.
- To overcome or overthrow by force; accomplish one's purpose upon or in regard to by force or compulsion; compel to succumb, give way, or yield.
- To effect by effort or a special or unusual application of force; bring about or promote by some artificial means: as, to force the passage of a river against an enemy; to force a jest.
- To cause to grow, develop, or mature under unnaturally stimulating or favorable conditions. Specifically— To hasten or enlarge the growth of, as flowers, fruits, etc., by means of artificial heat and shelter, as in hothouses or hotbeds.
- To impose or impress by force; compel the acceptance or endurance of: with on or upon: as, to force one's company or views on another; to force conviction on the mind.
- To furnish with a force; man; garrison.
- To put in force; make binding; enforce.
- In card-playing: In whist, to compel (a player) to trump a trick by leading a card of a suit of which he has none, which trick otherwise would be taken by an opponent: as, to force one's partner.
- To compel (a person) to play so as to make known the strength of his hand.
- To attach force or importance to; have regard to; care for.
- In Roman law, one obliged to accept a succession, however involved the estate might be.
- Hence — To compel one to disclose his intentions, plans, or resources.
- Synonyms and To oblige, necessitate, coerce.
- To use force or violence; make violent effort; strive; endeavor.
- To be of force or importance; be of significance or consequence.
- To care; hesitate; scruple.
- To stuff; farce.
- n. A waterfall.
- To clip or shear, as the beard or wool. In particular
- To clip off the upper and more hairy part of (wool), for export: a practice forbidden by stat.
- n. countable, Northern England A waterfall or cascade
- n. countable Anything that is able to make a big change in a person or thing.
- n. countable, physics A physical quantity that denotes ability to push, pull, twist or accelerate a body which is measured in a unit dimensioned in mass × distance/time² (ML/T²): SI: newton (N); CGS: dyne (dyn)
- n. countable A group that aims to attack, control, or constrain.
- n. uncountable The ability to attack, control, or constrain.
- n. countable A magic trick in which the outcome is known to the magician beforehand, especially one involving the apparent free choice of a card by another person.
- n. law Legal validity.
- n. law Either unlawful violence, as in a "forced entry", or lawful compulsion.
- v. transitive, baseball To create an out by touching a base in advance of a runner who has no base to return to while in possession of a ball which has already touched the ground.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. rare To stuff; to lard; to farce.
- n. Prov. Eng. A waterfall; a cascade.
- n. Capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect; strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigor; might; often, an unusual degree of strength or energy; especially, power to persuade, or convince, or impose obligation; pertinency; validity; special signification.
- n. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; violence; coercion.
- n. Strength or power for war; hence, a body of land or naval combatants, with their appurtenances, ready for action; -- an armament; troops; warlike array; -- often in the plural; hence, a body of men prepared for action in other ways.
- n. Strength or power exercised without law, or contrary to law, upon persons or things; violence.
- n. Validity; efficacy.
- n. (Physics) Any action between two bodies which changes, or tends to change, their relative condition as to rest or motion; or, more generally, which changes, or tends to change, any physical relation between them, whether mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, magnetic, or of any other kind
- v. To constrain to do or to forbear, by the exertion of a power not resistible; to compel by physical, moral, or intellectual means; to coerce.
- v. To compel, as by strength of evidence.
- v. To do violence to; to overpower, or to compel by violence to one's will; especially, to ravish; to violate; to commit rape upon.
- v. To obtain, overcome, or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress.
- v. To impel, drive, wrest, extort, get, etc., by main strength or violence; -- with a following adverb, as
along, away, from, into, through, out, etc.
- v. obsolete To put in force; to cause to be executed; to make binding; to enforce.
- v. To exert to the utmost; to urge; hence, to strain; to urge to excessive, unnatural, or untimely action; to produce by unnatural effort
- v. (Whist) To compel (an adversary or partner) to trump a trick by leading a suit of which he has none.
- v. obsolete To provide with forces; to reënforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison.
- v. obsolete To allow the force of; to value; to care for.
- v. To use violence; to make violent effort; to strive; to endeavor.
- v. To make a difficult matter of anything; to labor; to hesitate; hence,
to force of, to make much account of; to regard.
- v. To be of force, importance, or weight; to matter.
- n. a unit that is part of some military service
- v. cause to move by pulling
- v. take by force
- v. impose urgently, importunately, or inexorably
- v. to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means :
- v. squeeze like a wedge into a tight space
- n. group of people willing to obey orders
- v. urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate
- n. (of a law) having legal validity
- v. force into or from an action or state, either physically or metaphorically
- n. an act of aggression (as one against a person who resists)
- n. (physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity
- v. do forcibly; exert force
- n. physical energy or intensity
- v. move with force,
- n. a powerful effect or influence
- n. a group of people having the power of effective action
- n. one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority
- n. a putout of a base runner who is required to run; the putout is accomplished by holding the ball while touching the base to which the runner must advance before the runner reaches that base
- From Middle English force, fors, forse, from Old French force, from Late Latin fortia, from neuter plural of Latin fortis ("strong"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin fortia, from neuter pl. of Latin fortis, strong; see bhergh-2 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“What we want to do is to increase the attractive force, in order to prevent this tangential motion -- to increase the _force of gravity_.”
The Romance of Mathematics Being the Original Researches of a Lady Professor of Girtham College in Polemical Science, with some Account of the Social Properties of a Conic; Equations to Brain Waves; Social Forces; and the Laws of Political Motion.
“The dynamical force, that which produces motion, is the centripetal force, drawing the body continually from the tangential direction, toward the center; and what is termed centrifugal force is merely the resistance which the body opposes to this deflection, _precisely like any other resistance to a force_.”
“At present I will proceed to consider the second of the forces, or manifestations of force, which are developed in moving bodies -- _centrifugal force_.”
“In many cases it is desirable to force water considerably above the pump itself, as, for instance, in the fire hose; under such circumstances a type of pump is employed which has received the name of _force pump_.”
“Yet to force any of our principles upon her attention when she is in a hostile mood -- or to _force_ them, indeed, in any mood -- is to invite just this attitude.”
“And, further, if it be true that the human will is a physical energy, we have here the discovery of a _new force_ -- a force just as new to science as magnetism or electricity -- and vastly more interesting, since it is intimately associated with all of us, and subject to our direction, guidance, and command -- a force for us to wield and manipulate -- for weal or woe!”
“And now we force him -- _force_ him into these intimate relations.”
“The great man concentrates his force with a wave of his hand for the _tour de force_ of the year, the despatch of the Hielant train.”
“Regiment by a detachment of _equal force_ of the Eleventh Regiment, this force of _one company_ being now stationed at the Temiscouata post, as it _always has been_, for the necessary purpose of protecting the stores and accommodations provided for the use of Her Majesty's troops who may be required, as heretofore, to march by that route to and from the”
“It would appear that heat, light, electricity, sound, the cathode rays, and all other forms of force in nature are probably variations, and as it were limited expressions and manifestations, of _the one supreme force_ that supports the constitution of the physical universe; and that one supreme force is”
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