Main definitions of force in English

: force1force2



  • 1Strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement.

    ‘he was thrown backwards by the force of the explosion’
    • ‘There is a sponginess underfoot; a greater upward force to your movements.’
    • ‘Subjectivity and conscious agency, then, are as potent as any physical force.’
    • ‘He grabbed my wrists so strongly that his force obligated my body to stand up.’
    • ‘Draped over the bench like this the body takes the full force of recoil, with no flexibility to absorb the jolt.’
    • ‘Vertical impact force is the stress placed on the body as a result of contacting the ground during movement.’
    • ‘A negative pressure or suction force is then applied across the wound via a drainage tube embedded in the foam.’
    • ‘Magnetic levitation occurs when the magnetic force is strong enough to overcome gravity and balance a body's weight.’
    • ‘The Pump Engine adjoining the tread wheels was put in motion by human force.’
    • ‘It was like a small explosion of force, launching Joren backward several feet.’
    • ‘None the less, muscles on the whole can be controlled to produce a wide range of force and delicate motions.’
    • ‘The bombs on the inside edge exploded first, and their force sent my body hurling faster.’
    • ‘This seemed to add weight to the idea that bodies in motion had their own force.’
    • ‘His body took the full force of the blast; he didn't stand a chance.’
    • ‘The driving force for water movement can change with environmental conditions and with location in the plant.’
    • ‘The Earth has very large mass and is unlikely to encounter sufficient force to slow its motion.’
    • ‘The only way to beat the dust out of a dirty carpet is to get the total force of the body, hands and arms behind the hit.’
    • ‘The power to hoist such weight is not all brute strength - though physical force is crucial.’
    • ‘Originally, this force was attributed to an actomyosin system similar to muscle.’
    • ‘Finally the tears fall, fast and hard as the sobs wrack her slim body with their force.’
    • ‘For example, a skeleton pirouettes and does a handstand to show how the body distributes force.’
    strength, power, energy, might, potency, vigour, muscle, stamina, effort, exertion, impact, pressure, weight, impetus
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    1. 1.1Physics An influence tending to change the motion of a body or produce motion or stress in a stationary body. The magnitude of such an influence is often calculated by multiplying the mass of the body and its acceleration.
      • ‘If the spin and field are left antiparallel, the attractive force will slow the vibration.’
      • ‘In many ways, however, the weak force resembles the electromagnetic force.’
      • ‘It is worth emphasising that there is a major step to be made from an inverse square law of force to explain planetary motion and a universal law of gravitation.’
      • ‘This is analogous to the way in which electrons experience the weak force while photons do not.’
      • ‘Because of the increased mass, more force is needed to accelerate the object.’
    2. 1.2[in combination]Used with a number as a measure of wind strength on the Beaufort scale.
      ‘a force-nine gale’
      • ‘The most nervous moment of the trip so far was when a storm blew up gale force 6 winds.’
      • ‘The wind was gusting between force 8 and 9 but they managed to reach the drifting vessel.’
      • ‘The vessel, with her five crew, was stranded in gale force 10 winds and heavy swell.’
      • ‘Typhoon Rananim brought hurricanes of force 12 on the Beaufort scale when it landed.’
  • 2Coercion or compulsion, especially with the use or threat of violence.

    ‘they ruled by law and not by force’
    • ‘Who acts on the principle that violence, force and the threat of bloodshed are worthy tools of diplomacy?’
    • ‘He does not impose Himself by force, nor does He claim people under duress.’
    • ‘It dominated Indonesia by force and had an extensive network of factories throughout Asia.’
    • ‘Sovereignty could be transferred by force or by treaty, but it had to be transferred.’
    • ‘Thus, freedom of speech is converted from a human right into a tool of oppression that must be blunted by force.’
    • ‘As Ibrahim counsels, it is a mistake to believe that force can eliminate Islamist movements.’
    • ‘A final blow, White now threatens checkmate in one move and Black is lost by force.’
    • ‘Secondly, China continues to threaten to resolve the Taiwan issue by force.’
    • ‘One horse is biddable and can learn to obey commands, but the other is both deaf and violent, and so can be controlled only by force.’
    • ‘If the guilty won't hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.’
    • ‘Our whole trade is one of sufferance and compulsion, and by force alone can be maintained…’
    • ‘You can't get somebody to do something by force, by duress, by overcoming their will.’
    • ‘And if you go back far enough, just about all of it was originally taken by force.’
    • ‘In Christ we learn that God is in control, but not as a ruthless tyrant ruling by force and intimidation.’
    • ‘At times, hunting parties encountered other camps of women, and they took them by force under threat of death.’
    • ‘Another road is to wait until someone else has produced wealth, and then to seize it by force and violence.’
    • ‘Either by force or by coercion, any sprouting counter-power will be neutralized.’
    • ‘From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.’
    • ‘They stopped the tribal wars, first by agreements and then by force.’
    coercion, compulsion, constraint, duress, oppression, enforcement, harassment, intimidation, threats, pressure, pressurization, influence
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  • 3Mental or moral strength or power.

    ‘the force of popular opinion’
    • ‘As a mother, I appreciate the moral and emotional force of this recourse to the maternal.’
    • ‘She concluded that the repetition of such images ultimately neutralizes their moral force.’
    • ‘This time the world is alerted, and we must use our collective moral force to nip this outrage in the bud.’
    • ‘He argued that moral force would win the day, drawing on the Shi'ite themes of martyrdom and self-sacrifice.’
    • ‘I like to believe that this was because the moral and logical force of my argument meant this was all these lesser minds could fixate on.’
    • ‘Does ‘our culture of spectatorship neutralise the moral force of photographs of atrocities’?’
    • ‘But we civil society groups have the moral force of conviction that all human beings have rights and must be treated with dignity.’
    • ‘And if Islam is a universal moral force, which indeed it is, there is no need for any state to sustain it.’
    • ‘This was when the millionaire celebrity author at last acquired the moral force for which he is still recognised.’
    • ‘Beethoven delighted Rousseau's Romantic admirers with his demonstration of the moral force expressible in music.’
    • ‘A Declaration of the General Assembly is not, by definition, legally binding though it has strong moral force.’
    • ‘Take the references to god out of Dr. King's speeches and they lose none of their moral force.’
    • ‘He lunged for the device, and a sudden blast of mental force rattled his whole figure.’
    • ‘See Ganesha's majestic face and with mental force ask for help and explain the problem.’
    • ‘First, how are we to explain the motivational force of moral norms on this basis?’
    • ‘The world, including nature and humankind, stands or falls with the type of moral force at work.’
    • ‘Raising her hands in defense, her mind instinctively brought up a shield of mental force.’
    • ‘It is impossible now to guess where the intellectual certainty and moral force came from.’
    • ‘From the moment Hastie exploded with that great force of moral indignation, losing was simply not an option.’
    • ‘Even contemporary Kantians have acknowledged the moral force of the experience of pain.’
    intensity, feeling, passion, vigour, vigorousness, vehemence, drive, fierceness
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    1. 3.1[count noun]A person or thing regarded as exerting power or influence.
      ‘he might still be a force for peace and unity’
      • ‘The Internet can be a force for much good, for the dissemination of information, for the education of the masses.’
      • ‘Let me be a force for you in my life, my Church, my Community, my City, and my Country!’
      • ‘That is why it is important to throw up pioneering ideas so the government will be able to see this as a force for change and a chance to seize a lead for Britain.’
      • ‘So too the wider process (of which the telephone is part) can be a force for good or ill.’
      • ‘They see the global power of capitalism as a force for good in the world.’
      • ‘Whether the expansion of such influences is a force for good or evil depends on the character of any given nation.’
      • ‘The brand evangelists will tell you that brands are a force for good.’
      • ‘Nara too pointed out that only if Japan, India and China could form an alliance, Asia could prove to be a force for peace.’
      • ‘If you are a force for change in the universe, what do you seek to change and how?’
      • ‘He's a force for evil now, whether or not he ever was anything but.’
      • ‘It may not be fashionable to say it but America has long been a force for good in international relations.’
      • ‘Since the end of the Second World War, Canada has prided itself on being a force for international justice.’
      • ‘Much discussion in our modern world revolves around the concept of globalization and whether it is a force for good or evil.’
      • ‘This is a paean to the power and value of globalisation as a force for good.’
      • ‘Murdoch is well aware of the massive global power he wields as a force for liberty and the empowerment of the individual.’
      • ‘Our democratic government becomes a force for good because it reflects those values.’
      • ‘I believe in fair play and have always endeavoured to be a force for good in politics.’
      • ‘The Catholic church may well be a force for intolerance and reaction.’
      • ‘As such, it became a force for exclusion rather than inclusion.’
      • ‘He truly believes in the United States as a force for Good in the world, and who am I to criticize him for that?’
      agency, power, influence, instrument, vehicle, means, cause, effect
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    2. 3.2The powerful effect of something.
      ‘the Committee accepted the force of this argument’
      • ‘An art form that is both abstract and spiritual is a very powerful force - and in a sense transcends mere politics.’
      • ‘Addiction, which comes from the Latin to enslave, has a powerful rhetorical force in our culture.’
      • ‘When we act with conviction and genuine concern, our words have that much more force and power.’
      • ‘Are we aware of evil's reality yet blind to its force and effects, unable to name and describe it?’
      • ‘The catalogue can never represent the immensity, force, and power of any given artwork.’
      cogency, weight, effectiveness, efficacy, efficaciousness, soundness, validity, strength, might, power, significance, influence, authority, impressiveness, eloquence, persuasiveness, credibility, conclusiveness
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  • 4[count noun] An organized body of military personnel or police.

    ‘a British peacekeeping force’
    • ‘Local police, military forces and authorities patrolled major public places and festival venues.’
    • ‘Police and military forces could not, or would not, stop the arson and attacks between the two communities.’
    • ‘The 2,000-strong police and military force arrived in the Solomons two weeks ago.’
    • ‘Added to military and constabulary forces are the civil police of international organizations.’
    • ‘This includes supporting foreign police and military forces.’
    • ‘Charles sought peace at home and abroad by putting together a military force.’
    • ‘He also insists that any future Palestinian state must have only one police or military force.’
    • ‘A military force has to do more than keep the public at home informed.’
    • ‘The killings by the military force and the police have legal sanction.’
    • ‘By nightfall, local police and U.N. peacekeeping forces had been deployed, and a nighttime curfew was declared.’
    • ‘It has a military force, the Badr Corps, claiming a membership of thousands of former Iraqi officers and soldiers.’
    • ‘One needs the skill and expertise of a military force there; one needs more than the police.’
    • ‘UK police officers from forces around the country are spending two or three week stints in Thailand before returning home for welfare reasons.’
    • ‘The simple fact that a military force can strike a massive blow is irrelevant.’
    • ‘Judo has since been used in training for police and military forces around the world.’
    • ‘I tend to take the more traditional view that the worst thing a military force can do is fail in its mission.’
    • ‘Where once hundreds of US airmen paraded, police officers from Scotland's seven forces now patrol.’
    • ‘A sizeable force of police officers raided the room and found all four men inside smoking their merchandise.’
    • ‘It's use in the modern French context began as a reference to a military force employed as police.’
    • ‘It demands a realignment of the critical tasks needed to be successful as a military force.’
    body, body of people, group, outfit, party, team
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    1. 4.1Troops and weaponry.
      ‘left-wing guerrilla forces’
      figurative ‘a battle between the forces of good and evil’
      • ‘There has also been extensive collusion between the police and nationalist forces.’
      • ‘A common task for a checkpoint operation was to identify enemy forces and criminal activity.’
      • ‘When ground troops were involved, enemy forces easily performed military breaching across mine fields.’
      • ‘His guerrilla forces have killed American troops and many Iraqi civilians.’
      • ‘At the same time, high officers were not slow to point out the need of a new generation of weaponry for the Soviet forces.’
      • ‘In the defense, mounted units must also fight and destroy enemy forces moving into this battlespace.’
      • ‘Often, for surrounded troops, the supplies would land among the enemy forces.’
      • ‘Profiting from a mutiny, the rebel forces deployed their troops rapidly and cut the country virtually in two.’
      • ‘Democracies are entitled to try officers and soldiers of enemy forces for war crimes.’
      • ‘This new quality of artillery will lay the groundwork for in-depth effective engagement of enemy forces.’
      • ‘Ground forces could then pass enemy coordinates directly to strike aircraft.’
      • ‘Once friendly forces demonstrate the ability to mass fires, enemy forces will break contact.’
      • ‘As Team Alpha moves toward CP8, a steady roll of armored forces advance toward the enemy.’
      • ‘Effective fires directed against enemy forces will disrupt enemy plans and schemes of maneuver.’
      • ‘Before leaving the area, Church initiated a sweep of sensitive items and weapons to prevent capture by enemy forces.’
      • ‘In 1994, even as the military reduced its forces, more soldiers applied for benefits.’
      • ‘Maneuver is at the basis of massing artillery, aviation, engineer and other troops, forces and assets.’
      • ‘Paratroops were mostly used as advance forces or rear guard forces.’
      • ‘The second day the friendly forces advanced while the enemy force attempted to deny the route and destroy HQ elements.’
      • ‘Under such blows the enemy has to divide its forces thus allowing the troops on the offensive to destroy the enemy group piecemeal.’
    2. 4.2British informal The army, navy, and air force of a country.
      • ‘In 1651, Oliver Cromwell's army defeated the forces of Charles II at Worcester.’
      • ‘Slowly but surely the forces of the Red Army moved through Berlin in the spring of 1945.’
      • ‘That day, they scaled the walls and opened the gates and the great army slew the forces of Seth and Balaam.’
    3. 4.3British informal The police.
    4. 4.4A group of people brought together and organized for a particular activity.
      ‘a sales force’
      • ‘Young players and weathered campaigners pulled together as a force that was more than a team.’
      • ‘In both cases, pro-US political forces brought down governments that were aligned with Moscow.’
      • ‘The sales forces of medtech companies are hungry for additional products.’
      • ‘Now Ann Summers has a sales force of 7,500 party organisers and 120 shops in the UK.’
      • ‘In reality, it brought together some of the world's most socially conservative religious forces.’
      • ‘She says that by backing al-Sadr, we would help secular and more progressive religious forces to organise.’
      • ‘It prevented student organization by enlisting a force of students to report on political activity.’
      • ‘Elan acquired five US businesses and spent time on bringing those companies and their separate sales forces under the one brand.’


  • 1Make a way through or into by physical strength; break open by force.

    ‘the back door of the bank was forced’
    • ‘Locks had to be refitted to drugs cupboards which had been forced and emptied.’
    • ‘She went downstairs and noticed a window at the rear of the house had been forced.’
    break open, force open, burst open, prise open, kick in, knock down, blast
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    1. 1.1[with object and adverbial]Drive or push into a specified position or state using physical strength or against resistance.
      ‘thieves tried to force open the cash register’
      ‘Mark forced her arms back above her head’
      • ‘When he realised they were intruders he tried to shut the door but they forced it open and attacked him with a crowbar.’
      • ‘That score seemed to put Stradbally on the wrong foot and forced the Reds back into defensive mode.’
      • ‘All three houses either had their windows forced open or broken between 12 noon and 5pm.’
      • ‘The defender, recognizing his perilous position, then forces the space open.’
      • ‘The referee should also whistle immediately if any player in the scrummage is lifted off his feet or is forced upwards out of the scrummage.’
      • ‘The starfish alone has both the strength and tenacity to force an oyster open.’
      • ‘They have ducked the issue this time but Outrage is pushing hard to force Scotland Yard off the fence.’
      • ‘He has forced himself into the position by gripping the bat right at the bottom of the handle.’
      • ‘At the same time another three men broke through the wall behind the building, forced open a door and planted the bombs.’
      • ‘Then everyone started to plunder the town and to search the houses, forcing open the doors with axes and iron bars.’
      • ‘She watched Chris run into the kitchen and slam into the back door, forcing it open.’
      • ‘His hands then slid into the cracks of the door, forcing them open.’
      • ‘He pulled his door open, forcing the crowd back, and slid into his seat.’
      • ‘It took every speck of willpower and strength she had to force them back to an even position.’
      • ‘And no-one, or very few, will be forced out of positions funded by us poor suckers, the taxpayers.’
      • ‘And Franny must feel the same way I do, because I have to struggle with her each day I drive her in, forcing her from my arms and into the little play group.’
      • ‘She said the burglar had to scale a secure six-feet high fence at the rear of the property to get in and tried to force open the back door and window before breaking it.’
      • ‘Burglars broke into the house by forcing open a conservatory window and a door leading into the kitchen.’
      • ‘He could barely breath and his body was in pain from the unnatural position he'd forced himself into.’
      • ‘Sam pushed against the raw strength forcing her down; it did little good.’
      propel, push, thrust, shove, drive, press, pump, expel
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    2. 1.2Achieve or bring about (something) by effort.
      ‘Sabine forced a smile’
      ‘they forced a way through the crowd’
      • ‘The protestors forced their way through the crowd and began heckling Ryan.’
      • ‘At 11.15 pm, officers behind shields forced their way into the flat and overpowered the man.’
      • ‘A man, who had forced his way in through the bungalow's kitchen window, then walked into Christopher's bedroom.’
      • ‘They forced their way in, demanded money and snatched a cordless phone from the man's hand before ransacking the house.’
      • ‘The most serious incident was on November 3 1992 when the attacker forced his way into a couple's car.’
      • ‘He had captained the England Under-19 team and forced his way into the frame with some big hitting for Lancashire.’
      • ‘I forced my way through to her and someone took off her oxygen mask.’
      • ‘Four laps in and Webster forced a way through at Paddock Hill bend, grabbed the lead and started inexorably to pull away.’
      • ‘Both sides then added penalties before Newbridge forced their way over for a try following a tapped penalty.’
      • ‘An 81-year-old woman told yesterday how two men forced their way into her home and attacked her with a hammer.’
      • ‘The gang forced their way into the victim's home in Broadoak Road at about 9.30 pm on Monday.’
      • ‘Stained glass windows at the church were damaged after burglars forced their way in through them in three previous burglaries.’
      • ‘Carlisle forced their way back into the game and managed to draw level by half time and, try as they might, Ambleside could not score again.’
      • ‘He forced his way into the dispensary and grabbed the pharmacist's 60-year-old assistant.’
      • ‘The teenager was stabbed when a gang of four or five men wielding knives and baseball bats forced their way into the home he shares with his mother.’
      • ‘Police yesterday said she was subjected to another serious sexual assault by a stranger who forced his way into her home last April.’
      • ‘After a slow start, they forced their way back into the game.’
      • ‘Realizing what he had done, he forced his way through the front of the bus and ran off, with a sly, toothless grin on his face.’
      • ‘They forced their way deep into the Keighley half and giant prop Frank Watene forced his way under the posts from acting half just a metre out.’
      • ‘The men forced their way into the couple's south Essex home, attacked the husband and wife and used a stun-gun on them to keep them subdued.’
    3. 1.3Artificially hasten the development or maturity of (a plant).
      • ‘For example, bulbs like crocuses and daffodils, which are good at naturalizing, generally do well planted out after forcing.’
      • ‘The nice thing about forcing Amaryllis bulbs into flower inside the home is that it is so simple to do.’
      • ‘Bulbs that are used for forcing indoors cannot be forced two years in succession.’
      • ‘Most bulbs need to be chilled for many weeks before they can be forced.’
      • ‘Paperwhites are best forced in a shallow pot or bowl with no drainage holes in the bottom.’
      extract, elicit, exact, extort, wrest, wring, wrench, drag, screw, squeeze, milk
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  • 2Make (someone) do something against their will.

    ‘she was forced into early retirement’
    [with object] [with object and infinitive] ‘the universities were forced to cut staff’
    • ‘How would mothers feel being forced to break up their families so that they can keep their children?’
    • ‘The rest of us are forced into what's little more than a massive pyramid scheme.’
    • ‘Experts say one mistaken belief is that the state will look after you if you are forced into taking a long spell off work.’
    • ‘With irresistible strength he forced her to break her grip, holding her by her shoulders.’
    • ‘Brown's dangerous game is one which, to a large extent, he was forced into playing by the vagaries of the global market.’
    • ‘Two women were recovering yesterday after being kidnapped on their way to work at a high street bank where they were forced to open a safe.’
    • ‘But just as the Queen was about to arrive in her carriage a thunderstorm broke, forcing everyone to run for cover.’
    • ‘I was again forced into doing commercials by a photographer friend of mine.’
    • ‘But this gradual shift downwards may put pressure on inflation as the cost of imports rise, forcing the Bank of England to consider upping interest rates.’
    • ‘So he is forced into a feebly slow, piecemeal approach to an issue where boldness above all is required.’
    • ‘My son, who worked there, and the others were always offered breaks and were never forced to work extra hours.’
    • ‘He did not want a fight, but if he was forced into one, he would put up York City candidates at next May's council elections.’
    • ‘Most of all, I enjoyed the cappuccino and large piece of cake I was forced into having to warm up afterwards!’
    • ‘Of course you'll be forced to break these rules on occasion.’
    • ‘You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.’
    • ‘Bank creditors forced the company to break up its conglomerate structure after it breached its loan covenants in 2001.’
    • ‘He was forced into a U-turn after a furious reaction to his plans not to travel to Normandy.’
    • ‘The competition generated would be expected to force the most expensive banks to reduce their costs.’
    • ‘When he is forced into battle, he hides inside a cannon, and is catapulted into the tent of the enemy's general staff.’
    • ‘Ever troublesome to Napoleon, he was forced into temporary retirement in 1812 at Napoleon's request.’
    compel, coerce, make, constrain, oblige, impel, drive, necessitate, pressurize, pressure, press, push
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    1. 2.1Baseball Put out (a runner) by necessitating an advance to the next base when it is not possible to do so safely.
      • ‘Rivera fielded the ball, but threw it into center field in attempting to force Dellucci at second.’
      • ‘Martinez quickly picked the ball up and tagged third base, seemingly forcing Gibson.’
      • ‘As soon as that happens the runner on first is no longer forced to go to second.’
      • ‘He walked Rico Petrocelli, forcing Doyle home with Boston's second run.’
      • ‘Jim Landis made the first out, forcing Shaw at the plate.’


  • by force of

    • By means of.

      ‘disputes were sometimes settled by force of arms’
      • ‘Now if one of our military operations is designed to keep that country by force of military arm, then we could be there for a very long period of time indeed.’
      • ‘At another, it is a thinly disguised satire on the arrogance of an empire that extended itself by force of arms so far across the world that it ignored elementary social and environmental problems at home.’
      • ‘Some of them have compared their present concerns to those felt in the Cold War, a struggle won as much by capitalism and the power of ideas as by force of arms.’
      • ‘They would take on the authorities of their day by force of arms and die, gloriously or ingloriously, to be remembered as heroes and patriots.’
      • ‘The architects of self-governance reform did not envision the division of powers as a dynamic process, but saw it as a defined, static result to be achieved by force of will and set down in law.’
      • ‘If one man could turn the whole city around 180 degrees, by force of will, then maybe individual decisions do count.’
      • ‘And that won't be achieved by force of arms in foreign lands.’
      • ‘And it was evident we couldn't force democracy on people by force of arms…’
      • ‘I am not so certain of the effects of violence on the souls of those who would do us harm but I share a Protestant conviction about the need to defend liberty by force of arms when necessary.’
      • ‘Jean Grey doesn't have an odd name, but she is psychic with telekinesis, tossing people around by force of will.’
  • force the bidding

    • (at an auction) make bids to raise the price rapidly.

      • ‘But in this story of a ravenous New York art dealer trying to force the bidding for a rare Jackson Pollock up to $20m, he makes some telling points.’
      • ‘This bid could also be a cover for an intention to bid Misère (it forces the bidding to seven, when a Misère bid is legal), or it could mean that you hold control of several suits.’
      • ‘Our reports of a recurring scam - bidding on your own Bartercard auctions in order to force the bidding up to your reserve price - have been investigated.’
      • ‘Its edge of a knife stuff as the auction reaches its climax with buyers forcing the bidding higher and higher.’
      • ‘If that proves to be the case, SkyWay, far from being a helpless minnow menaced by the incumbent sharks, might find itself in a position to make life difficult - and expensive - for them by forcing the bidding.’
      • ‘Baseball fans forced the bidding up to $23,600 as they battled to buy bone chips from the arm of Seattle Mariners pitcher Jeff Nelson.’
  • force someone's hand

    • Make someone do something.

      • ‘The only way I can do this is to say yes to almost anything that crops up and that in turn forces your hand to practice!’
      • ‘Of course, if things get out of hand, the markets will force the Fed 's hand.’
      • ‘It was the South that would force his hand as President to use force to keep the nation together.’
      • ‘One undergraduate stated that college was ‘forcing our hand and exterminating our right to peaceful protest’.’
      • ‘Restricted opportunity for legal migration has forced their hand.’
      • ‘Now there is nothing, no one is forcing my hand overtly or covertly.’
      • ‘The factories were quick off their marks in trying to keep prices down but the unity of farmers forced their hand and now they are vying with each other to get cattle and this is the way it should be.’
      • ‘But they wouldn't make an offer until we forced their hand.’
      • ‘He's looking to try and involve young lads outwith that central group but if any player, myself included, is playing well enough, it forces his hand.’
      • ‘If the auditor-general hadn't forced their hand, it would be business as usual in the Liberal camp.’
  • force the issue

    • Compel the making of an immediate decision.

      • ‘Lawsuits force the issue, and the results are more immediate than whatever develops from education.’
      • ‘To declare the clock running is to force the issue of congressional debate and decision.’
      • ‘Customs would rather see companies continue to trade and obviously settle their bills than go down the road of forcing the issue.’
      • ‘But aside from the cost - estimated at tens of millions of dollars - the residents have refused to move and the government isn't forcing the issue.’
      • ‘They must have made their decision that they were going to force the issue and make Indiana come up higher to start their offense.’
      • ‘It is not known when he will make a decision but councillors are hopeful the Government will change its mind about forcing the issue, or at least allowing more ‘breathing space’.’
      • ‘This season, through two games, his errors were caused by a lack of awareness, uncertainty in decision-making and forcing the issue.’
      • ‘The trial verdict should have been the end of the matter, but no, some overblown ego has to make a rash decision that might rebound on him just to force the issue of moral righteousness.’
      • ‘The American Civil Liberties Union is forcing the issue.’
      • ‘You can force the issue, using the techniques described in Chapter 4, and override the RPM system.’
  • force the pace

    • Adopt a fast pace in a race in order to tire out one's opponents quickly.

      • ‘At his best when forcing the pace, he can show his rivals a clean pair of heels on this fast circuit.’
      • ‘After that, the game could have gone either way, except that Tipperary were again forcing the pace.’
      • ‘One possible reaction, of course, is to wait, allow better technologies to develop organically rather than forcing the pace, while gathering more data.’
      • ‘I'm still very inexperienced and there may come a time when I have the need or the confidence to actually go with the pace or even force the pace.’
      • ‘However it was the Cork champions who were forcing the pace and with Cian O'Connor, Ger Spillane and Finbarr Barry leading the way they started to extend their advantage.’
      • ‘However, if anything the spate of setbacks seemed to have a positive impact on the team as they forced the pace in the opening exchanges.’
      • ‘Front runners were rewarded at Pioneer Park over the weekend when three of the four winners forced the pace and claimed victory.’
      • ‘In the interim Carlow forced the pace and won the contest.’
      • ‘This was a record-breaking activity made possible only by forcing the pace to the point where serious debate and discussion was made impossible by the restricted timescale and the public demand for political action.’
      • ‘U.S. history is evidence that forcing the pace of federation and destroying local independence can be a pretty quick way to serious conflict.’
  • in force

    • In great strength or numbers.

      ‘birdwatchers were out in force’
      • ‘Bird watchers and nature lovers assembled in force at Pairc Cois Feile on Sunday morning at 5 am to greet the Dawn Chorus.’
      in great numbers, in great quantities, in hordes, in full strength
      View synonyms
  • in (or into) force

    • In or into effect.

      ‘the law came into force in January’
      • ‘The government has also begun council tax revaluation, which comes into force in 2007.’
      • ‘If approved, it is hoped it will come into force within the current financial year.’
      • ‘Under the Hunting Act, which came into force in February this year, it is illegal to allow a pack of dogs to hunt and kill a fox.’
      • ‘But this could be due to the fact application forms were only available on the day the act came into force.’
      • ‘He specifically hit out at the new EU-imposed restrictions which came into force last January.’
      • ‘From April a new system of collecting garden waste will come into force.’
      • ‘New Zealand banned smoking in all workplaces last December and a similar ban has just come into force in Italy.’
      • ‘The building needs to comply with the disability discrimination act that comes into force at the end of the month.’
      • ‘The electoral roll which Bradford Council is working from came into force on December 1.’
      • ‘Other large businesses have been working to limit the effects of the ban before it comes into force.’
      • ‘A judicial review is to be launched today at the High Court to overturn the ban which comes into force in February.’
      • ‘Today, the civil unions bill comes into force, and people can apply for a licence.’
      • ‘Saturday marked the first test of the controversial Hunting Act, which came into force on Friday.’
      • ‘For many it was an emotional day as the ban, which many believed would never come into force, finally arrived.’
      • ‘The new school year has begun at Summerhill and hence the new traffic plans have come into force.’
      • ‘This is the third set of powers contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act to come into force locally.’
      • ‘The order comes into force on Saturday and will remain active for six months.’
      • ‘Huntsmen say they have made a mockery of the law by legally killing a fox, only hours after the hunting ban came into force.’
      • ‘The huge payments are being made under a clause in the consultants' new contract that came into force this year.’
      • ‘It exceeds all standards and will do very well with the energy labelling when it comes into force.’
      effective, in operation, operative, operational, in action, valid, on the statute book, current, live, active
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • force something down

    • 1Manage to swallow food or drink when one does not want to.

      • ‘She was obviously too stressed and worried to eat, but tried to force some food down anyway.’
      • ‘Just remember to rehydrate, force some bland food down and drink some more alcohol as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘She feels nauseous when she is served dinner in her room, but she forces the food down so as not to get into trouble.’
      • ‘I had to force the food down - I already ate at the hospital - but I had to put on a show for the rest of my family to make sure that they wouldn't worry about me.’
      • ‘Nicholas, too, had trouble eating, but he forced the food down his throat as his mind was fogged with clouds of worry.’
      • ‘I was quite literally forcing the food down because I needed to replenish my body.’
      • ‘If I try to eat, I can't seem to force the food down.’
      • ‘Making a face, she picked the plate back up, going to work on the spiced sausages, forcing it down with the hot drink he had concocted.’
      • ‘He fled to his cistern to bring back water, but though the fledgling grasped the cup and strove to drink, he could not force it down.’
      • ‘This got a really strong anise flavor that lingered on in my mouth for a while after I forced it down to swallow.’
      • ‘‘Thanks,’ she whispered, and managed to force the fry down.’
      • ‘Blinking away her tears, she dragged herself over to the food and forced the food down.’
    • 2Compel an aircraft to land.

      ‘the plane might have been forced down by fighters’
      • ‘Later, on sighting another hostile scout, he engaged it and forced it down spinning and out of control.’
      • ‘Two days later, when fog forced them down again on the Minho River, they spent the night in their plane.’
  • force oneself on/upon

    • Rape (a woman).

      • ‘In an ally way not to far from the construction site, a woman struggled as a hefty man forced himself upon her.’
      • ‘The second attack came a few weeks later when the man cornered the girl in a furnace room, reached for a condom and forced himself upon her.’
      • ‘The appellant denied that he forced himself upon the complainant.’
      • ‘He was always polite, never said or did anything that would prompt anyone to think that he would do anything like forcing himself upon a woman.’
      • ‘Renay is continually called upon to entertain Terry's white friends (a position resembling servitude); Terry's friends view Renay as a new object, something that they can force themselves upon at any time.’
      • ‘In an insecure frenzy to be ‘passionate,’ he forces himself upon her, and, when they struggle in the kitchen, her sari is ignited by a gas stove.’
      • ‘What if the soldiers force themselves upon you?’
      • ‘Not interested in the shame, I resisted when he tried to force himself upon me.’
      • ‘Her betrothed was a old, horny lecher, though, and forced himself upon her the night before their wedding, when they're not even supposed to see each other, let alone make love.’
      • ‘The allegation is that she took the boy into the classroom cupboard and kissed him, though she insists he forced himself upon her.’
      • ‘The setup gave it away - they actually meant the hubby to be that tragic figure of heroic love lost, not some smelly dude forcing himself upon somebody's daughter.’
      • ‘The young girl accepted his offer, but upon arriving at the spot, the man, known only as ‘Boy’, grabbed her arms and dragged her to the beachfront where he forced himself upon her, stifling her cries for help.’
      • ‘Besides the way you can punch I don't think any man would want to force themselves upon you.’
      • ‘Since you had no problem with the article itself, your implication is that men are so prone to evil, not to mention so stupid, that merely misinterpreting a headline could lead them to force themselves upon women.’
      • ‘Rape is again seen as a ‘crime of passion’, letting go when you see a sexy woman, rather than consciously and violently forcing yourself upon her.’
      • ‘The woman has alleged he forced himself upon her when she was staying overnight at his house.’
      • ‘Tears rolled down his face as he watched the man tear her clothes away, forcing himself upon her.’
      • ‘They may do so today, and if the husband forces himself on his spouse, he is guilty of marital rape.’
  • force something on/upon

    • Impose or press something on.

      ‘economic cutbacks were forced on the government’
      • ‘But that right does not extend to forcing their views upon others and they should respect the hard-fought freedoms we have in this country.’
      • ‘I did what I did all the way through, not from what you read in the papers, not from what you imagine about politics or religion or forcing my beliefs on somebody else.’
      • ‘Of course, there is a great deal to be said for not forcing your beliefs on your children, but not if that leaves a moral vacuum.’
      • ‘The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, which has discussed the issue at its board meeting, said although they agreed with the community service idea in principle, the department was forcing its proposal on them.’
      • ‘I myself do believe in the Ten Commandments, but don't believe in forcing my beliefs on those who don't.’
      • ‘Furthermore, a referendum is nothing more than the majority forcing its view on the minority.’
      • ‘After all, laws against breach of contract, theft, rape, murder, and the like also involve the defenders of those laws forcing their opinions on the rest of us.’
      • ‘I think that forcing our own notion of government into power and forcing our beliefs on these people is not what should happen.’
      • ‘We don't want their euro because it's not working in the countries it has been forced upon and it won't work here.’
      • ‘The first time I kept getting up on stage and forcing my opinion on the actors.’
      • ‘I usually end up forcing my company upon others.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, he distracts from the real issues that should be debated by forcing his opinion on us as well.’
      • ‘What I do think is that we should not have the federal government in a position where it is forcing its views on one side or the other.’
      • ‘At least this way I wont be forcing my company upon others.’
      • ‘They are extremely hostile to anything conservative - and very enthusiastic about forcing their cause on others’
      • ‘Plus I had reached a point in my life where I realized that sometimes it is just better to surrender to what is actually happening as opposed to forcing your agenda on the situation.’
      • ‘Western societies are guilty of overlooking their own discriminatory practices, while forcing their customs upon immigrants.’
      • ‘I assumed it was to stop a fascist, racist dictator from forcing his views on the people of Britain.’
      • ‘Most parents commit the ‘blunder’ of forcing their choice on their wards.’
      • ‘No-one is forcing their decision on me and that's what freedom of choice in the market place of ideas is all about in the end.’
  • force someone out

    • Compel someone to leave a job or position, especially by indirect means.

      figurative ‘Fields was forced out as director’
      • ‘Phelan claims he was forced out in September 1988.’
      • ‘People who disagreed (Shinseki) were, naturally, ignored or forced out.’
      • ‘Mandelson's friends remain convinced he was badly wronged by a hasty decision to force him out.’
      • ‘Marsh & McLennan's CEO Jeffrey Greenburg, forced out earlier this week.’
      • ‘Bonner insists he was not forced out or asked to resign.’
      • ‘The first woman to head a major technology company has been forced out.’
      • ‘Henderson took over back in March had the government forced out Rick Wagoner.’
      • ‘We will not be leaving or be forced out.’
      • ‘Romney also forced out Amorello, whom he accused of mismanagement.’
      • ‘Choirmaster Stephen Hartley resigned, claiming he was forced out.’
      evict, expel, eject, oust, remove, dislodge, turn out, put out, throw out, throw out on the streets, throw out on one's ear, drum out, drive out
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French force (noun), forcer (verb), based on Latin fortis strong.




Main definitions of force in English

: force1force2



Northern english
  • A waterfall.


Late Middle English: from Old Norse fors.