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in force

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1

In full strength, in large numbers, as in Demonstrators were out in force. This usage originally alluded to a large military force. [Early 1300s]

2

Operative, binding, as in This rule is no longer in force. This usage originally alluded to the binding power of a law. [Late 1400s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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