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.
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.
an influence on a body or system, producing or tending to produce a change in movement or in shape or other effects.
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.
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.
to compel, constrain, or oblige (oneself or another person) 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 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.
to cause (a base runner or run) to score, as by walking a batter with the bases full (often followed by in).
to compel (a player) to trump by leading a suit of which the player has no cards.
to compel a player to play (a particular card).
to compel (a player) to play so as to make known the strength of the hand.
to develop (a print or negative) for longer than usual in order to increase density or bring out details.
to bring out underexposed parts of (a print or negative) by adding alkali to the developer.
Archaic. to give force to; strengthen; reinforce.
to make one's way by force.
Idioms about force
in operation; effective: This ancient rule is no longer in force.
in large numbers; at full strength: They attacked in force.
- force·a·ble, adjective
- forceless, adjective
- forcer, noun
- forc·ing·ly, adverb
- in·ter·force, noun
- o·ver·force, noun
- o·ver·force, verb, o·ver·forced, o·ver·forc·ing.
- un·force·a·ble, adjective
- un·forc·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use force in a sentence
Troye said she organized and participated in every meeting of the coronavirus task force, which her former boss chairs, between February and July.A devastating picture of Trump’s coronavirus response — from a firsthand witness | Aaron Blake | September 17, 2020 | Washington Post
Climate change has also been a force behind the latest wave of destructive wildfires on the West Coast.What wildfires in Brazil, Siberia, and the US West have in common | Lili Pike | September 17, 2020 | Vox
Perhaps the presence of EMS workers could have saved Taylor’s life, as her attorneys say, but this would not have changed the fact that she was already the victim of excessive force the moment officers stormed in and started shooting.The policing reforms in the Breonna Taylor settlement, explained | Fabiola Cineas | September 17, 2020 | Vox
Altogether, this means that water is hitting the ground with more force and the soil is unable to suck it up.California wildfires may give way to massive mudslides | Ula Chrobak | September 17, 2020 | Popular-Science
The president recently visited Wisconsin to highlight his support for law enforcement and to reinforce his message that he is best suited to tamp down violence — with force, if necessary.Post-ABC Wisconsin poll shows Biden holding narrow edge over Trump | Dan Balz, Emily Guskin | September 16, 2020 | Washington Post
Yet for a vivid decade or so, sleaze was, somewhat paradoxically, a force for literacy and empowerment.
Shortly after dawn, there was another outbreak of deadly force.
And Air force assessors are the first to say such imaging never tells the whole story.Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War | Nancy A. Youssef | January 7, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Detectives with a fugitive task force caught up with Polanco and a friend on a Bronx street in the early afternoon.
The Pentagon said Faal served in the Air force for seven years, during which time he became a U.S. citizen.The Shadowy U.S. Veteran Who Tried to Overthrow a Country | Jacob Siegel | January 6, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The Goliath wouldn't answer; the Dublin said the force was coming off, and we could not get into touch with the soldiers at all.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
For this use of the voice in the special service of will-power, or propelling force, it is necessary first to test its freedom.Expressive Voice Culture | Jessie Eldridge Southwick
But you are mistaken in thinking the force west consists of the entire Merrill Horse.The Courier of the Ozarks | Byron A. Dunn
She and her younger sister, Janet, had quarreled a good deal through force of unfortunate habit.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
In the time of destruction they shall pour out their force: and they shall appease the wrath of him that made them.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
British Dictionary definitions for force (1 of 2)
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
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
a static influence that produces an elastic strain in a body or system or bears weight: Symbol: F
physics any operating influence that produces or tends to produce a change in a physical quantity: electromotive force; coercive force
intellectual, social, political, or moral influence or strength: the force of his argument; the forces of evil
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
the force (sometimes capital) informal the police force
a group of persons organized for particular duties or tasks: a workforce
criminal law violence unlawfully committed or threatened
(of a law) having legal validity or binding effect
in great strength or numbers
join forces to combine strengths, efforts, etc
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
to compel (a player) to trump in order to take a trick
to compel a player by the lead of a particular suit to play (a certain card)
(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
- forceable, adjective
- forceless, adjective
- forcer, noun
- forcingly, adverb
British Dictionary definitions for force (2 of 2)
(in northern England) a waterfall
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
Scientific definitions for force
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.
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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for force
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with force
In addition to the idioms beginning with force
- force someone's hand
- force to be reckoned with
- brute force
- driving force
- in force
- join forces
- reckon with (force to be reckoned with)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.