Meaning of FORCE in English


I. ˈfō(ə)rs, ˈfȯ(ə)rs, ˈfōəs, ˈfȯ(ə)s noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French force, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin fortia, from Latin fortis strong + -ia -y — more at fort


a. : strength or energy especially of an exceptional degree : active power : vigor

b. : physical strength or vigor of a living being

drained of all force by his mighty effort

c. : power to affect in physical relations or conditions

the force of the blow was somewhat spent when it reached him

the rising force of the wind

d. : moral or mental strength especially when manifested as power of effective action (as in the overcoming of opposition)

the force of his character had the impact of a physical pressure

a man of great force and determination

e. : power or capacity to sway, convince, or impose obligation : validity , effect

the force of his arguments

who could resist the force of such an appeal

often : legal efficacy : operative effect

that law is still in force

an agreement having the force of law


a. : might or greatness especially of a prince or state ; often : strength in or capacity for waging war

the force of this lord was so great that no other would contest his right to rule


(1) : a group of individuals occupied with or ready for combat

the entire force of the fortress

usually : a body of troops, ships, airplanes, or combinations thereof especially when assigned to a particular military purpose or necessity

took a small force of infantrymen and searched the village

the enemy assembled a great force for the spring offensive

— see task force

(2) forces plural : the whole military strength (as of a nation) : armed forces

c. : a body of persons available for or serving a particular end

a large available labor force

often : a more or less organized group or staff having a common responsibility or task

a conscientious police force

the plantation force took a half-holiday


a. : power, violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing

conciliation may succeed where force completely fails

those who will not respond to kindness must yield to force

b. : strength or power of any degree that is exercised without justification or contrary to law upon a person or thing

c. : violence or such threat or display of physical aggression toward a person as reasonably inspires fear of pain, bodily harm, or death

4. dialect England : a large part, quantity, or number

5. : an agency or influence (as a push or pull) that if applied to a free body results chiefly in an acceleration of the body and sometimes in elastic deformation and other effects (as from overcoming cohesion or adhesion or sustaining weight)

6. : the quality of conveying impressions intensely in writing or speech (as by vividness, cogency, or passion)

a stimulating essay marked by force and cogency

7. : an act (as of misdirection) or course (as of play) that forces the response of another (as in a play in a game) into a predetermined pattern

sometimes a force is useful for locating honors in the opponents' hands


a. : the upper hollow embossing die : counter V 10b

b. : a specially formed bar or plate attached to the underside of the slide of a punch press chiefly for use in riveting and seaming

9. : a billiards stroke made by striking a cue ball hard and just below the center so that it rebounds or stops sharply or goes off at a desired angle after striking the object ball


violence , compulsion , coercion , duress , constraint , restraint : force is a general term for exercise of strength or power, especially physical, to overcome resistance

there is the force used by parents when … they compel their children to act or refrain from acting in some particular way. There is the force used by attendants in an asylum when they try to prevent a maniac from hurting himself or others. There is the force used by the police when they control a crowd … there is the force used in war — Aldous Huxley

violence is applicable to dynamic power showing great strength, power, intensity, fury, destructiveness

a wild nightmare of violence, noise, confusion, and pain — T.B.Costain

force must not be confused with violence … the completely successful use of force implies the absence of violence, because those against whom force is used recognize the futility of resistance — P.M.Sweezy

compulsion is applicable to any power or agency that compels, that makes an individual follow a will not his own

compulsion exists where a being is inevitably determined by an external cause — Frank Thilly

masterpieces I read under compulsion without the faintest interest — Bertrand Russell

coercion often suggests unethical, unjust compulsion, as by threat or deception

a promise obtained by coercion is hardly binding

the amiable trait in his character of an intense dislike to coercion — G.B.Shaw

duress may suggest a stronger coercion in which the compelling is accomplished by confinement or violence, or dire threats of confinement or violence

our duress, his arrogance, our awful servitude — Edna S.V. Millay

a fake declaration of love by the heroine under duress — Dyneley Hussey

constraint may apply to the action of any agency enjoining unwilling performance or avoidance of an action

the constraint of society had banished his former expression of easy good humor — G.B.Shaw

prose is memorable speech set down without constraint of meter — A.T.Quiller-Couch

restraint suggests an agency which checks free activity or expression or an atmosphere in which such restriction is likely or common

long years of abstinence and restraint and an avoidance of physical contacts and emotional responses before marriage — A.C.Kinsey

they rushed into freedom and enjoyment, into the unfettered use of their powers, with an energy proportional to their previous restraint — G.L.Dickinson

Synonym: see in addition power .

- by force of

- in force

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English forcen, from Middle French forcier, forcer to attack, rape, compel, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin fortiare, from Latin fortis strong

transitive verb

1. : to do violence to ; especially : rape

a maiden forced by the intruder

2. : to constrain or compel by physical, moral, or intellectual means or by the exigencies of circumstances

forced by injuries to stay at home

hunger forced him to forget his scruples

such evidence forces conviction on the mind

financial weakness forces many small businesses to the wall

3. : to make, cause, make to be, or accomplish through natural or logical necessity

forces the diameters to be equal — Josiah Royce


a. : to press, drive, attain to, or effect as indicated against resistance or inertia by some positive compelling force or action

force your way through

much of the previously unobtainable oil is forced to the surface — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

basic problems forced on us by the age in which we live — J.B.Conant

b. : to press, impose, or thrust urgently, importunately, inexorably

he forced his personality upon his little world by organizing an army — L.C.Powys

force his attentions on a woman

c. : to drive (as warm air) through or into a duct or channel by some impelling force (as a fan)

force the caulking compound into the crevices

5. : to achieve or win by strength in struggle or violence:

a. : to win one's way into : storm successfully : enter in attack

force a castle

b. : to effect a passage through by overcoming defenses

forced the mountain passes — O.L.Spaulding

c. : to break open or through

force a lock

eventually the gate was forced


a. : to raise, accelerate, or heighten to the utmost

forcing the pace

sometimes : to intensify the action and pressure in (as a game)

forced the game by a series of brilliant plays

b. : to give forth, emit, produce only with unnatural or unwilling effort, not freely, spontaneously

the laughter was forced and unnatural — Sherwood Anderson

c. : to wrench, strain, use with marked unnaturalness and lack of ease : press to an unusual use, past a usual limit, or into an unusual meaning or interpretation

to force , to dislocate if necessary, language into his meaning — T.S.Eliot

a forced interpretation of the passage


a. : to hasten the speed, growth, progress, developing, or maturing of (as through artificial means, maximum effort, close care, or individual attention)

a forced march

children forced into early maturity by heavy responsibilities

b. : to bring (plants or their wanted parts, as flowers or fruit) to maturity out of the normal season (as by the use of heat and special lighting)

forcing lilies for the Easter trade


a. archaic : reinforce , man

force with soldiers

b. : to increase the intake of (as fluids) beyond the normal bodily requirement

it is wise to force fluids when any systemic intoxication is present


a. : to cause (a person) to respond in a particular way in a game or trick usually to one's own advantage (as by discarding a playing card that an opponent must take under the rules of the game)

card tricks that depend on misdirection to force the helper to take the intended card

b. : to induce (as a particular bid or play by another player) in a card game by some conventional act, play, bid, or response

doubled the opponent's bid to force a try for game from his partner

hoped to force the trump ace out by leading the remaining club


a. : to cause (a runner in baseball) to be put out by compelling him (as by a hit) to vacate the base he has been occupying and attempt to advance to the next base

b. : to cause (a run) to be scored in baseball or (a runner) to score (as by giving a base on balls when the bases are full)

11. : to develop (photographic material) to the limit either in time or by chemical means or both in order to obtain detail in the shadow portions of an underexposed negative or the highlights of an underexposed print

intransitive verb

1. : to advance or progress by force

our troops forcing ahead

2. : to grow, advance, mature by being forced

these plants force well


a. : to make a series of shots intended to put an opponent in a racket game out of position for a subsequent shot

b. : to make a bid or play in a card game that forces another player or a particular response


compel , coerce , constrain , oblige : force is a general term indicating use of strength, power, weight, stress, duress in overcoming resistance

the editors were forced to flee for their lives and the newspaper plant was burned — American Guide Series: Arkansas

American pressure had been sufficient to force Germany to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare — C.E.Black & E.C.Helmreich

those yield data and force the mind to put many queries — H.O.Taylor

compel may more strongly indicate irresistible overcoming of unwillingness or resistance

yellow fever was raging in Charleston, and for this reason the Scots were compelled to remain on board — W.P.Webb

the discovery of new facts compels the rational thinker to reexamine the adequacy of his previous generalizations — M.R.Cohen

coerce implies domineering and overriding resistance by notably unethical tactics like violence, intimidation, pressure, duress

no one can claim that he was coerced by bribery. This is reserved for threats and direct pleas — W.D.Falk

constrain suggests forcing by something that either does or seems to constrict, press, confine, compress

tied him to the wall, where he was constrained to stay till a kind passerby released him — John Galsworthy

constrained through poverty to live in the houses of others — Edith Sitwell

oblige , although it may apply to any binding force, is common in situations involving ethical, social, or intellectual necessity, through the effect of codes or principles

the Protestant missionary felt obliged to give the Indian a book religion — American Guide Series: Minnesota

obliged to receive and grind grain for his fellow townsmen — American Guide Series: Rhode Island

- force a safeguard

- force one's hand

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English fors, force, from Old Norse fors, foss; akin to Sanskrit pṛṣat drop, Old Slavic prachŭ dust

dialect : waterfall , cascade

IV. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: alteration (influenced by force ) (II) of farce (I)

archaic : farce , stuff

malice forced with wit — Shakespeare

V. noun

1. usually capitalized — used with a number to indicate the strength of the wind according to the Beaufort scale

a Force 10 hurricane

2. : any of the natural influences (as electromagnetism, gravity, the strong force, and the weak force) that exist especially between particles and determine the structure of the universe

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.