force

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See also: Force, forcé, and forcë

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English force, fors, forse, borrowed from Old French force, from Late Latin or Vulgar Latin *fortia, from neuter plural of Latin fortis (strong).

Noun[edit]

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
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 14, in The History of England from the Accession of James II:
      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 substantial change in a person or thing.
  4. (countable, physics) A physical quantity that denotes ability to push, pull, twist or accelerate a body and which has a direction and 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 a physical effect upon something else, such as causing it to move or change shape.
    • 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 mechanism—known as the spindle—being 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.
    • 1611, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
      Is Lucius general of the forces?
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0124:
      "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.
  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. (humorous or science fiction, with the, often capitalized) A metaphysical and ubiquitous power from the fictional Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. See usage note. [1977]
    • 1999 September 28, Mike Selvey, “Crenshaw vindicated by a chain reaction”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The Europeans tried, my goodness how they tried. But on the day the US proved too strong and too inspired. They were, dammit, just better. And when Leonard's putt dropped they clearly had the force with them as well.
    • 2005, Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, written by George Lucas, published 2005:
      The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.
  13. Synonym of police force (typically with preceding "the")
Usage notes[edit]
  • 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.
  • (science fiction): Outside of fiction, the force may be used as an alternative to invoking luck, destiny, or God. For example, the force was with him instead of luck was on his side, or may the force be with you instead of may God be with you.
Hyponyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

References[edit]

Verb[edit]

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, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 1, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, [], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      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.]
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0105:
      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.]
    • (Can we date this quote by John Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      It stuck so fast, so deeply buried lay / That scarce the victor forced the steel away.
    • c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene iii]:
      to force the tyrant from his seat by war
    • (Can we date this quote by John Webster and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      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.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Webster and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      What can the church force more?
  12. (archaic) To provide with forces; to reinforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison.
  13. (obsolete) To allow the force of; to value; to care for.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

force (plural forces)

  1. (countable, Northern England) A waterfall or cascade.
    • (Can we date this quote by T. Gray and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      to see the falls or force of the river Kent
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English forcen, forsen, a use of force, with confusion of farce (to stuff).

Verb[edit]

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

  1. To stuff; to lard; to farce.

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French force, from Old French force, from Late Latin or Vulgar Latin *fortia, re-analyzed as a feminine singular from the neuter plural of Latin fortis. Compare Catalan força, Portuguese força, Italian forza, Spanish fuerza.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

force f (plural forces)

  1. force
    • c. 1656–1662, Blaise Pascal, “Fragment Raisons des effets n° 20 / 21”, in Pensées [Thoughts]‎[2]:
      La justice sans la force est impuissante. La force sans la justice est tyrannique.
      Justice without force is powerless. Force without justice is tyrannical.
    • 1897, Henri Poincaré, “Les idées de Hertz sur la mécanique [The ideas of Hertz on mechanics]”, in Revue générale des sciences pures et appliquées [General Review of Pure and Applied Sciences]‎[3], volume 8, page 734:
      — Qu'est-ce que la force ? C'est, répond Lagrange, une cause qui produit le mouvement d'un corps ou qui tend à le produire. — C'est, dira Kirchhoff, le produit de la masse par l'accélération. Mais alors, pourquoi ne pas dire que la masse est le quotient de la force par l'accélération ?
      "What is force? It is," answers Lagrange, "a cause which produces the movement of a body or which tends to produce it." "It is," Kirchhoff will say, "the product of mass by acceleration." But then why not say that mass is the quotient of force by acceleration?
  2. strength

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

force (invariable)

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

Verb[edit]

force

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

Further reading[edit]


Middle French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French force.

Noun[edit]

force f (plural forces)

  1. force (physical effort; physical might)

Descendants[edit]

  • French: force

Old French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Late Latin or Vulgar Latin *fortia, re-analyzed as a feminine singular from the neuter plural of Latin fortis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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

  1. strength; might

Related terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Verb[edit]

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