Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
  • transitive v. To compel through pressure or necessity: I forced myself to practice daily. He was forced to take a second job.
  • transitive v. To gain by the use of force or coercion: force a confession.
  • transitive v. To move or effect against resistance or inertia: forced my foot into the shoe.
  • transitive v. To inflict or impose relentlessly: He forced his ideas upon the group.
  • transitive v. To put undue strain on: She forced her voice despite being hoarse.
  • transitive v. To increase or accelerate (a pace, for example) to the maximum.
  • transitive v. To produce with effort and against one's will: force a laugh in spite of pain.
  • transitive v. To use (language) with obvious lack of ease and naturalness.
  • transitive v. To move, open, or clear by force: forced our way through the crowd.
  • transitive v. To break down or open by force: force a lock.
  • transitive v. To rape.
  • transitive v. Botany To cause to grow or mature by artificially accelerating normal processes.
  • transitive v. Baseball To put (a runner) out on a force play.
  • transitive v. Baseball To allow (a run) to be scored by walking a batter when the bases are loaded.
  • transitive 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anything that is able to make a big change in a person or thing.
  • n. 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. A group that aims to attack, control, or constrain.
  • n. The ability to attack, control, or constrain.
  • n. 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. Legal validity.
  • n. Either unlawful violence, as in a "forced entry", or lawful compulsion.
  • v. 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.
  • n. A waterfall or cascade

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To stuff; to lard; to farce.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Strength or power exercised without law, or contrary to law, upon persons or things; violence.
  • n. Validity; efficacy.
  • n. 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
  • transitive 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.
  • transitive v. To compel, as by strength of evidence.
  • transitive 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.
  • transitive v. To obtain, overcome, or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress.
  • transitive 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.
  • transitive v. To put in force; to cause to be executed; to make binding; to enforce.
  • transitive v. To exert to the utmost; to urge; hence, to strain; to urge to excessive, unnatural, or untimely action; to produce by unnatural effort
  • transitive v. To compel (an adversary or partner) to trump a trick by leading a suit of which he has none.
  • transitive v. To provide with forces; to reënforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison.
  • transitive v. To allow the force of; to value; to care for.
  • intransitive v. To use violence; to make violent effort; to strive; to endeavor.
  • intransitive v. To make a difficult matter of anything; to labor; to hesitate; hence, to force of, to make much account of; to regard.
  • intransitive v. To be of force, importance, or weight; to matter.

from The 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.
  • 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.
  • n. Loosely— Any mechanical cause or element.
  • 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.
  • 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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

Etymologies

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)
From Middle English force, fors, forse, from Old French force, from Late Latin fortia, from neuter plural of Latin fortis ("strong"). (Wiktionary)
From Old Norse fors ("waterfall"). Cognate with Swedish fors ("waterfall") (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "And Wilson gave no quarter. To open a Liberty Loan drive, Wilson demanded, 'Force! Force to the utmost! Force without stint or limit! the righteous and triumphant Force which shall make Right the law of the world, and cast every selfish dominion down in the dust.'"
    —John M. Barry, The Great Influenza (NY: Penguin Books, 2004), 128

    February 14, 2009