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force Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a powerful effect or influence
    • the force of his eloquence easily persuaded them
  2. noun (physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity
    • force equals mass times acceleration
  3. noun physical energy or intensity
    forcefulness; strength.
    • he hit with all the force he could muster
    • it was destroyed by the strength of the gale
    • a government has not the vitality and forcefulness of a living man
  4. noun group of people willing to obey orders
    • a public force is necessary to give security to the rights of citizens
  5. noun a unit that is part of some military service
    military unit; military group; military force.
    • he sent Caesar a force of six thousand men
  6. noun an act of aggression (as one against a person who resists)
    • he may accomplish by craft in the long run what he cannot do by force and violence in the short one
  7. noun one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority
    • the mysterious presence of an evil power
    • may the force be with you
    • the forces of evil
  8. noun a group of people having the power of effective action
    • he joined forces with a band of adventurers
  9. noun (of a law) having legal validity
    • the law is still in effect
  10. noun 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
    force play; force out; force-out.
    • the shortstop got the runner at second on a force
  11. verb to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means :"She forced him to take a job in the city"
    coerce; squeeze; hale; pressure.
    • He squeezed her for information
  12. verb urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate
  13. verb move with force, "He pushed the table into a corner"
  14. verb impose urgently, importunately, or inexorably
    • She forced her diet fads on him
  15. verb squeeze like a wedge into a tight space
    wedge; squeeze.
    • I squeezed myself into the corner
  16. verb force into or from an action or state, either physically or metaphorically
    ram; drive.
    • She rammed her mind into focus
    • He drives me mad
  17. verb cause to move by pulling
    pull; draw.
    • draw a wagon
    • pull a sled
  18. verb do forcibly; exert force
    • Don't force it!
  19. verb take by force
    • Storm the fort

Force transitive verb
See Farce to stuff.
  1. To stuff; to lard; to farce. R.
    Wit larded with malice, and malice forced with wit. Shak.
Force noun
Of Scand. origin; cf. Icel. fors, foss, Dan. fos.
  1. A waterfall; a cascade. Prov. Eng.
    To see the falls for force of the river Kent. T. Gray.
Force noun
F. force, LL. forcia, fortia, fr. L. fortis strong. See Fort, n.
  1. Strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigor; might; often, an unusual degree of strength or energy; capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect; especially, power to persuade, or convince, or impose obligation; pertinency; validity; special signification; as, the force of an appeal, an argument, a contract, or a term.
    He was, in the full force of the words, a good man. Macaulay.
  2. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; violence; coercion.
    Which now they hold by force, and not by right. Shak.
  3. Strength or power 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; as, the laboring force of a plantation.
    Is Lucius general of the forces? Shak.
  4. (Law) (a) Strength or power exercised without law, or contrary to law, upon persons or things; violence. (b) Validity; efficacy. Burrill.
  5. (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; as, the force of gravity; cohesive force; centrifugal force. Syn. -- Strength; vigor; might; energy; stress; vehemence; violence; compulsion; coaction; constraint; coercion. -- Force, Strength. Strength looks rather to power as an inward capability or energy. Thus we speak of the strength of timber, bodily strength, mental strength, strength of emotion, etc. Force, on the other hand, looks more to the outward; as, the force of gravitation, force of circumstances, force of habit, etc. We do, indeed, speak of strength of will and force of will; but even here the former may lean toward the internal tenacity of purpose, and the latter toward the outward expression of it in action. But, though the two words do in a few cases touch thus closely on each other, there is, on the whole, a marked distinction in our use of force and strength. "Force is the name given, in mechanical science, to whatever produces, or can produce, motion." Nichol.
    Thy tears are of no force to mollify This flinty man. Heywood.
    More huge in strength than wise in works he was. Spenser.
    Adam and first matron Eve Had ended now their orisons, and found Strength added from above, new hope to spring Out of despair. Milton.
Force transitive verb
OF. forcier, F. forcer, fr. LL. forciare, fortiare. See Force, n.
imperfect & past participle Forced ; present participle & verbal noun Forcing
  1. 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; as, masters force slaves to labor.
  2. To compel, as by strength of evidence; as, to force conviction on the mind.
  3. To do violence to; to overpower, or to compel by violence to one;s will; especially, to ravish; to violate; to commit rape upon.
    To force their monarch and insult the court. Dryden.
    I should have forced thee soon wish other arms. Milton.
    To force a spotless virgin's chastity. Shak.
  4. To obtain or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress.
  5. To impel, drive, wrest, extort, get, etc., by main strength or violence; -- with a following adverb, as along, away, from, into, through, out, etc.
    It stuck so fast, so deeply buried lay That scarce the victor forced the steel away. Dryden.
    To force the tyrant from his seat by war. Sahk.
    Ethelbert ordered that none should be forced into religion. Fuller.
  6. To put in force; to cause to be executed; to make binding; to enforce. Obs.
    What can the church force more? J. Webster.
  7. To exert to the utmost; to urge; hence, to strain; to urge to excessive, unnatural, or untimely action; to produce by unnatural effort; as, to force a consient or metaphor; to force a laugh; to force fruits.
    High on a mounting wave my head I bore, Forcing my strength, and gathering to the shore. Dryden.
  8. (Whist) To compel (an adversary or partner) to trump a trick by leading a suit of which he has none.
  9. To provide with forces; to reënforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison. Obs. Shak.
  10. To allow the force of; to value; to care for. Obs.
    For me, I force not argument a straw. Shak.
    Syn. -- To compel; constrain; oblige; necessitate; coerce; drive; press; impel.
Force intransitive verb
Obs. in all the senses.
  1. To use violence; to make violent effort; to strive; to endeavor.
    Forcing with gifts to win his wanton heart. Spenser.
  2. To make a difficult matter of anything; to labor; to hesitate; hence, to force of, to make much account of; to regard.
    Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear. Shak.
    I force not of such fooleries. Camden.
  3. To be of force, importance, or weight; to matter.
    It is not sufficient to have attained the name and dignity of a shepherd, not forcing how. Udall.

Webster 1913