Definitions

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

  • n. A feat requiring great virtuosity or strength, often deliberately undertaken for its difficulty: "In an extraordinary structural tour de force the novel maintains a dual focus” ( Julian Moynahan).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A feat demonstrating brilliance or mastery in a field.
  • n. An outstanding display of skill.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A feat of strength, power, or skill.

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

  • n. a masterly or brilliant feat

Etymologies

French : tour, turn, feat + de, of + force, strength.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French “feat of strength” circa 19th century. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Cambridge tried the tour de force of dancing on one leg instead of two and notably failed: Mr. Lyall also strove to imitate Arabic metre and produced only prose bewitched. 443 Mr. Payne appears to me to have wasted trouble in “observing the exterior form of the stanza, the movement of the rhyme and (as far as possible) the identity in number of the syllables composing the beits.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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