Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Force

Force

,
Verb.
T.
[See
Farce
to stuff.]
To stuff; to lard; to farce.
[R.]
Wit larded with malice, and malice
forced
with wit.
Shakespeare

Force

,
Noun.
[Of Scand. origin; cf. Icel.
fors
,
foss
, Dan.
fos
.]
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
,
Noun.
]
1.
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;
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;
as, by
force
of arms; to take by
force
.
Which now they hold by
force
, and not by right.
Shakespeare
3.
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;
as, the laboring
force
of a plantation; the armed
forces
.
Is Lucius general of the
forces
?
Shakespeare
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

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Forced
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Forcing
.]
[OF.
forcier
, F.
forcer
, fr. LL.
forciare
,
fortiare
. See
Force
,
Noun.
]
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.
Shakespeare
4.
To obtain, overcome, or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress;
as, to
force
the castle; to
force
a lock
.
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 conceit 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.]
Syn. – To compel; constrain; oblige; necessitate; coerce; drive; press; impel.

Force

,
Verb.
I.
[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.
Shakespeare
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 1828 Edition


Force

FORCE

,
Noun.
[L. fortis. All words denoting force, power, strength, are from verbs which express straining, or driving, rushing, and this word has the elements of L. vireo.]
1.
Strength; active power; vigor; might; energy that may be exerted; that physical property in a body which may produce action or motion in another body, or may counteract such motion. By the force of the muscles we raise a weight, or resist an assault.
2.
Momentum; the quantity of power produced by motion or the action of one body on another; as the force of a cannon ball.
3.
That which causes an operation or moral effect; strength; energy; as the force of the mind, will or understanding.
4.
Violence; power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power. Let conquerors consider that force alone can keep what force as obtained.
5.
Strength; moral power to convince the mind. There is great force in an argument.
6.
Virtue; efficacy. No presumption or hypothesis can be of force enough to overthrow constant experience.
7.
Validity; power to bind or hold. If the conditions of a covenant are not fulfilled, the contract is of no force. A testament is of force after the testator is dead. Heb. 9:17.
8.
Strength or power for war; armament; troops; an army or navy; as a military or naval force: sometimes in the plural; as military forces.
9.
Destiny; necessity; compulsion; any extraneous power to which men are subject; as the force of fate or of divine decrees.
10.
Internal power; as the force of habit.
11.
In law, any unlawful violence to person or property. This is simple, when no other crime attends it, as the entering into another's possession, without committing any other unlawful act. It is compound, when some other violence or unlawful act is committed. The law also implies force, as when a person enters a house or inclosure lawfully, but afterwards does an unlawful act. In this case, the law supposes the first entrance to be for that purpose, and therefore by force.
Physical force, is the force of material bodies.
Moral force, is the power of acting on the reason in judging and determining.
Mechanical force, is the power that belongs to bodies at rest or in motion. The pressure or tension of bodies at rest is called a mechanical force, and so is the power of a body in motion. There is also the force of gravity or attraction, centrifugal and centripetal forces, expansive force, &c.

FORCE

,
Verb.
T.
1.
To compel; to constrain to do or to forbear, by the exertion of a power not resistible. Men are forced to submit to conquerors. Masters force their slaves to labor.
2.
To overpower by strength.
I should have forced thee soon with other arms.
3.
To impel; to press; to drive; to draw or push by main strength; a sense of very extensive use; as, to force along a wagon or a ship; to force away a man's arms; water forces its way through a narrow channel; a man may be forced out of his possessions.
4.
To enforce; to urge; to press.
Forcing my strength, and gathering to the shore.
5.
To compel by strength of evidence; as, to force conviction on the mind; to force one to acknowledge the truth of a proposition.
6.
To storm; to assault and take by violence; as, to force a town or fort.
7.
To ravish; to violate by force, as a female.
8.
To overstrain; to distort; as a forced conceit.
9.
To cause to produce ripe fruit prematurely, as a tree; or to cause to ripen prematurely, as fruit.
10.
To man; to strengthen by soldiers; to garrison. Obs.
To force from, to wrest from; to extort.
To force out, to drive out; to compel to issue out or to leave; also, to extort.
To force wine, is to fine it by a short process, or in a short time.
To force plants, is to urge the growth of plants by artificial heat.
To force meat, is to stuff it.

FORCE

,
Verb.
I.
1.
To lay stress on. Obs.
2.
To strive. Obs.
3.
To use violence.

Definition 2022


Force

Force

See also: force, forcé, and forcë

English

Proper noun

Force

  1. (Northern England) Falls. used in place names.

force

force

See also: Force, forcé, and forcë

English

Noun

force (countable and uncountable, plural forces)

  1. Strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigour; might; capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect.
    the force of an appeal, an argument, or a contract
    • Thomas Macaulay (1800-1859)
      He was, in the full force of the words, a good man.
  2. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; violence; coercion.
  3. (countable) Anything that is able to make a big change in a person or thing.
  4. (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)
  5. Something or anything that has the power to produce an effect upon something else.
    • 2012 March 1, Henry Petroski, Opening Doors”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 2, page 112-3:
      A doorknob of whatever roundish shape is effectively a continuum of levers, with the axis of the latching mechanismknown as the spindlebeing the fulcrum about which the turning takes place. Applying a force tangential to the knob is essentially equivalent to applying one perpendicular to a radial line defining the lever.
  6. (countable) A group that aims to attack, control, or constrain.
    police force
    • William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
      Is Lucius general of the forces?
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
      "A fine man, that Dunwody, yonder," commented the young captain, as they parted, and as he turned to his prisoner. "We'll see him on in Washington some day. He is strengthening his forces now against Mr. Benton out there. []."
    • 2004 April 15, Morning swoop in hunt for Jodi's killer”, in The Scotsman:
      For Lothian and Borders Police, the early-morning raid had come at the end one of biggest investigations carried out by the force, which had originally presented a dossier of evidence on the murder of Jodi Jones to the Edinburgh procurator-fiscal, William Gallagher, on 25 November last year.
  7. (uncountable) The ability to attack, control, or constrain.
    show of force
  8. (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.
  9. (law) Legal validity.
    The law will come into force in January.
  10. (law) Either unlawful violence, as in a "forced entry", or lawful compulsion.
  11. (linguistics, semantics, pragmatics) Ability of an utterance or its element (word, form, prosody, ...) to effect a given meaning.
    1962, J Gonda, The aspectual function of the R̥gvedic present and aorist, S̓-Gravenhage, Mouton, pages 43:
    When the aspectual force of the verbal categories weakens, the 'terminative', punctual or determinative value of the prefix gains in importance,...
  12. (science fiction) A binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power in the fictional universe of the Star Wars galaxy created by George Lucas.
Usage notes
  • Adjectives often applied to "force": military, cultural, economic, gravitational, electric, magnetic, strong, weak, positive, negative, attractive, repulsive, good, evil, dark, physical, muscular, spiritual, intellectual, mental, emotional, rotational, tremendous, huge.
Derived terms
Translations

Verb

force (third-person singular simple present forces, present participle forcing, simple past and past participle forced)

  1. (transitive) To violate (a woman); to rape. [from 14thc.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter v, in Le Morte Darthur, book V:
      For yf ye were suche fyfty as ye be / ye were not able to make resystence ageynst this deuyl / here lyeth a duchesse deede the whiche was the fayrest of alle the world wyf to syre Howel / duc of Bretayne / he hath murthred her in forcynge her / and has slytte her vnto the nauyl
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essayes, London: Edward Blount, OCLC 946730821, II.1:
      a young woman not farre from mee had headlong cast her selfe out of a high window, with intent to kill herselfe, only to avoid the ravishment of a rascally-base souldier that lay in her house, who offered to force her [].
  2. (obsolete, reflexive, intransitive) To exert oneself, to do one's utmost. [from 14thc.]
  3. (transitive) To compel (someone or something) to do something. [from 15thc.]
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
      Captain Edward Carlisle [] felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, []; he could not tell what this prisoner might do. He cursed the fate which had assigned such a duty, cursed especially that fate which forced a gallant soldier to meet so superb a woman as this under handicap so hard.
    • 2011, Tim Webb & Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 23 March:
      Housebuilders had warned that the higher costs involved would have forced them to build fewer homes and priced many homebuyers out of the market.
  4. (transitive) To constrain by force; to overcome the limitations or resistance of. [from 16thc.]
  5. (transitive) To drive (something) by force, to propel (generally + prepositional phrase or adverb). [from 16thc.]
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      It stuck so fast, so deeply buried lay / That scarce the victor forced the steel away.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      to force the tyrant from his seat by war
    • John Webster (c.1580-c.1634)
      Ethelbert ordered that none should be forced into religion.
    • 2007, The Guardian, 4 November:
      In a groundbreaking move, the Pentagon is compensating servicemen seriously hurt when an American tank convoy forced them off the road.
  6. (transitive) To cause to occur (despite inertia, resistance etc.); to produce through force. [from 16thc.]
    The comedian's jokes weren't funny, but I forced a laugh now and then.
    • 2009, "All things to Althingi", The Economist, 23 July:
      The second problem is the economy, the shocking state of which has forced the decision to apply to the EU.
  7. (transitive) To forcibly open (a door, lock etc.). [from 17thc.]
    To force a lock.
  8. To obtain or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress.
  9. (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.
    Jones forced the runner at second by stepping on the bag.
  10. (whist) To compel (an adversary or partner) to trump a trick by leading a suit that he/she does not hold.
  11. (archaic) To put in force; to cause to be executed; to make binding; to enforce.
    • John Webster (c.1580-c.1634)
      What can the church force more?
  12. (archaic) To provide with forces; to reinforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  13. (obsolete) To allow the force of; to value; to care for.
Translations
Derived terms

See also

Etymology 2

From Old Norse fors (waterfall). Cognate with Swedish fors (waterfall)

Noun

force (plural forces)

  1. (countable, Northern England) A waterfall or cascade.
    • T. Gray
      to see the falls or force of the river Kent
Translations

Etymology 3

See farce (to stuff).

Verb

force (third-person singular simple present forces, present participle forcing, simple past and past participle forced)

  1. To stuff; to lard; to farce.
    • Shakespeare
      Wit larded with malice, and malice forced with wit.

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: appeared · spoke · strange · #463: force · character · taking · information

French

Etymology

From Old French force, from Late Latin neuter plural fortia, from Latin adjective fortis. Compare Catalan and Portuguese força, Italian forza, Spanish fuerza.

Pronunciation

Noun

force f (plural forces)

  1. force.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Adjective

force (invariable)

  1. (archaic) Many; a lot of; a great quantity of.

Verb

force

  1. first-person singular present indicative of forcer
  2. third-person singular present indicative of forcer
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of forcer
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of forcer
  5. second-person singular imperative of forcer

Middle French

Etymology

Old French force.

Noun

force f (plural forces)

  1. force (physical effort; physical might)

Descendants


Old French

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Late Latin *fortia, Classical Latin fortis

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /fɔrsə/

Noun

force f (oblique plural forces, nominative singular force, nominative plural forces)

  1. strength; might

Related terms

Descendants


Portuguese

Verb

force

  1. First-person singular (eu) present subjunctive of forçar
  2. Third-person singular (ele, ela, also used with tu and você?) present subjunctive of forçar
  3. First-person singular (eu) affirmative imperative of forçar
  4. Third-person singular (você) affirmative imperative of forçar
  5. First-person singular (eu) negative imperative of forçar
  6. Third-person singular (você) negative imperative of forçar