Try Our Apps


Blech. These are the grossest words.


[fawrs, fohrs] /fɔrs, foʊrs/
physical power or strength possessed by a living being:
He used all his force in opening the window.
strength or power exerted upon an object; physical coercion; violence:
to use force to open the window; to use force on a person.
strength; energy; power; intensity:
a personality of great force.
power to influence, affect, or control; efficacious power:
the force of circumstances; a force for law and order.
Law. unlawful violence threatened or committed against persons or property.
persuasive power; power to convince:
They felt the force of his arguments.
mental or moral strength:
force of character.
might, as of a ruler or realm; strength for war.
Often, forces. the military or fighting strength, especially of a nation.
any body of persons combined for joint action:
a sales force.
intensity or strength of effect:
the force of her acting.
  1. an influence on a body or system, producing or tending to produce a change in movement or in shape or other effects.
  2. the intensity of such an influence. Symbol: F, f.
any influence or agency analogous to physical force:
social forces.
binding power, as of a contract.
Baseball. force play.
value; significance; meaning.
Billiards. a stroke in which the cue ball is forcibly struck directly below the center in such a manner as to cause it to stop abruptly, bound back, or roll off to one side after hitting the object ball.
verb (used with object), forced, forcing.
to compel, constrain, or oblige (oneself or someone) to do something:
to force a suspect to confess.
to drive or propel against resistance:
He forced his way through the crowd. They forced air into his lungs.
to bring about or effect by force.
to bring about of necessity or as a necessary result:
to force a smile.
to put or impose (something or someone) forcibly on or upon a person:
to force one's opinions on others.
to compel by force; overcome the resistance of:
to force acceptance of something.
to obtain or draw forth by or as if by force; extort:
to force a confession.
to enter or take by force; overpower:
They forced the town after a long siege.
to break open (a door, lock, etc.).
to cause (plants, fruits, etc.) to grow or mature at an increased rate by artificial means.
to press, urge, or exert (an animal, person, etc.) to violent effort or to the utmost.
to use force upon.
to rape.
  1. to cause (a base runner) to be put out by obliging the runner, as by a ground ball, to vacate a base and attempt to move to the next base in order to make room for another runner or the batter.
  2. to cause (a base runner or run) to score, as by walking a batter with the bases full (often followed by in).
  1. to compel (a player) to trump by leading a suit of which the player has no cards.
  2. to compel a player to play (a particular card).
  3. to compel (a player) to play so as to make known the strength of the hand.
  1. to develop (a print or negative) for longer than usual in order to increase density or bring out details.
  2. to bring out underexposed parts of (a print or negative) by adding alkali to the developer.
Archaic. to give force to; strengthen; reinforce.
verb (used without object), forced, forcing.
to make one's way by force.
in force,
  1. in operation; effective:
    This ancient rule is no longer in force.
  2. in large numbers; at full strength:
    They attacked in force.
Origin of force
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *fortia, derivative of Latin fortis strong; (v.) Middle English forcen < Anglo-French, Old French forcer, derivative of the noun
Related forms
forceable, adjective
forceless, adjective
forcer, noun
forcingly, adverb
interforce, noun
overforce, noun
overforce, verb, overforced, overforcing.
unforceable, adjective
unforcing, adjective
Can be confused
coerce, compel, constrain, force, oblige (see synonym study at oblige)
3. vigor. See strength. 4. compulsion, constraint. 6. efficacy, effectiveness, cogency, potency, validity. 18. coerce. 19. impel. 25. overcome; violate, ravish, rape.
3. weakness. 6. impotence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for forces
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now the lover is not only unlike his beloved, but he forces himself upon him.

    Phaedrus Plato
  • The two portions from Brest and Cherbourg had now united their forces.

    The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith
  • But there were other forces at work on which I had not counted, and the first of these was Chigi.

    Romance of Roman Villas Elizabeth W. (Elizbeth Williams) Champney
  • It never can add anything to the forces in a man's own character and attainments.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • But the forces under Temujin's command were too strong for them.

British Dictionary definitions for forces


plural noun
the Forces, the armed services of a nation


strength or energy; might; power: the force of the blow, a gale of great force
exertion or the use of exertion against a person or thing that resists; coercion
  1. a dynamic influence that changes a body from a state of rest to one of motion or changes its rate of motion. The magnitude of the force is equal to the product of the mass of the body and its acceleration
  2. a static influence that produces an elastic strain in a body or system or bears weight F
(physics) any operating influence that produces or tends to produce a change in a physical quantity: electromotive force, coercive force
  1. intellectual, social, political, or moral influence or strength: the force of his argument, the forces of evil
  2. a person or thing with such influence: he was a force in the land
vehemence or intensity: he spoke with great force
a group of persons organized for military or police functions: armed forces
(sometimes capital) (informal) the force, the police force
a group of persons organized for particular duties or tasks: a workforce
(criminal law) violence unlawfully committed or threatened
(philosophy, logic) that which an expression is normally used to achieve See speech act, illocution, perlocution
in force
  1. (of a law) having legal validity or binding effect
  2. in great strength or numbers
join forces, to combine strengths, efforts, etc
verb (transitive)
to compel or cause (a person, group, etc) to do something through effort, superior strength, etc; coerce
to acquire, secure, or produce through effort, superior strength, etc: to force a confession
to propel or drive despite resistance: to force a nail into wood
to break down or open (a lock, safe, door, etc)
to impose or inflict: he forced his views on them
to cause (plants or farm animals) to grow or fatten artificially at an increased rate
to strain or exert to the utmost: to force the voice
to rape; ravish
  1. to compel (a player) to trump in order to take a trick
  2. to compel a player by the lead of a particular suit to play (a certain card)
  3. (in bridge) to induce (a bid) from one's partner by bidding in a certain way
force a smile, to make oneself smile
force down, to compel an aircraft to land
force the pace, to adopt a high speed or rate of procedure
Derived Forms
forceable, adjective
forceless, adjective
forcer, noun
forcingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin fortia (unattested), from Latin fortis strong


(in northern England) a waterfall
Word Origin
C17: from Old Norse fors
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for forces



c.1300, "physical strength," from Old French force (12c.) "force, strength, courage, fortitude; violence, power, compulsion," from Vulgar Latin *fortia (cf. Spanish fuerza, Italian forza), noun use of neuter plural of Latin fortis "strong" (see fort). Meaning "body of armed men, army" first recorded late 14c. (also in Old French). Physics sense is from 1660s; force field attested by 1920.


c.1300, from Old French forcier "conquer by violence," from force (see force (n.)). Its earliest sense in English was "to ravish" (a woman); sense of "to compel, oblige" to do something is from c.1400. Related: Forced; forcing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
forces in Medicine

force (fôrs)

  1. The capacity to do work or cause physical change; energy, strength, or active power.

  2. A vector quantity that tends to produce an acceleration of a body in the direction of its application.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
forces in Science
  1. Any of various factors that cause a body to change its speed, direction, or shape. Force is a vector quantity, having both magnitude and direction. Contributions of force from different sources can be summed to give the net force at any given point.

  2. Any of the four natural phenomena involving the interaction between particles of matter. From the strongest to the weakest, the four forces are the strong nuclear force, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force, and gravity.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
forces in Culture

force definition

In physics, something that causes a change in the motion of an object. The modern definition of force (an object's mass multiplied by its acceleration) was given by Isaac Newton in Newton's laws of motion. The most familiar unit of force is the pound. (See mechanics.)

Note: Gravity, and therefore weight, is a kind of force.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
forces in the Bible

of the Gentiles (Isa. 60:5, 11; R.V., "the wealth of the nations") denotes the wealth of the heathen. The whole passage means that the wealth of the Gentile world should be consecrated to the service of the church.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with forces
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for force

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for forces

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for forces