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tour de force

[too r duh fawrs, -fohrs; French toor duh fawrs] /ˌtʊər də ˈfɔrs, -ˈfoʊrs; French tur də ˈfɔrs/
noun, plural tours de force
[too rz duh fawrs, -fohrs; French toor duh fawrs] /ˌtʊərz də ˈfɔrs, -ˈfoʊrs; French tur də ˈfɔrs/ (Show IPA)
an exceptional achievement by an artist, author, or the like, that is unlikely to be equaled by that person or anyone else; stroke of genius:
Herman Melville's Moby Dick was a tour de force.
a particularly adroit maneuver or technique in handling a difficult situation:
The way the president got his bill through the Senate was a tour de force.
a feat requiring unusual strength, skill, or ingenuity.
Origin of tour de force
1795-1805; < French: feat of strength or skill Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tour de force
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let who will decide which tour de force was the more difficult.

  • He had, however, added something to his score by a Hooverian tour de force.

    Herbert Hoover Vernon Kellogg
  • This, however, is a tour de force, and not quoted as worthy of imitation.

  • His face is a tour de force—that of a rare critic, as all healthy babies are.

    Franz Hals Edgcumbe Staley
  • This was a master stroke—a tour de force—a knock-out—anything you will.

    Superwomen Albert Payson Terhune
British Dictionary definitions for tour de force

tour de force

/tur də fɔrs; English ˈtʊə də ˈfɔːs/
noun (pl) tours de force (tur; English) (ˈtʊə)
a masterly or brilliant stroke, creation, effect, or accomplishment
Word Origin
literally: feat of skill or strength
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
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Word Origin and History for tour de force

1802, French, "feat of strength."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tour de force in Culture
tour de force [(toor duh fawrs)]

A feat accomplished through great skill and ability: “The speech was a tour de force; it swept the audience off its feet.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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