Main definitions of force in US English:

: force1force2



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

    ‘he was thrown backward by the force of the explosion’
    • ‘There is a sponginess underfoot; a greater upward force to your movements.’
    • ‘Originally, this force was attributed to an actomyosin system similar to muscle.’
    • ‘The bombs on the inside edge exploded first, and their force sent my body hurling faster.’
    • ‘He grabbed my wrists so strongly that his force obligated my body to stand up.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His body took the full force of the blast; he didn't stand a chance.’
    • ‘The Earth has very large mass and is unlikely to encounter sufficient force to slow its motion.’
    • ‘For example, a skeleton pirouettes and does a handstand to show how the body distributes force.’
    • ‘The Pump Engine adjoining the tread wheels was put in motion by human force.’
    • ‘A negative pressure or suction force is then applied across the wound via a drainage tube embedded in the foam.’
    • ‘None the less, muscles on the whole can be controlled to produce a wide range of force and delicate motions.’
    • ‘Subjectivity and conscious agency, then, are as potent as any physical force.’
    • ‘This seemed to add weight to the idea that bodies in motion had their own force.’
    • ‘Finally the tears fall, fast and hard as the sobs wrack her slim body with their force.’
    • ‘The driving force for water movement can change with environmental conditions and with location in the plant.’
    • ‘Draped over the bench like this the body takes the full force of recoil, with no flexibility to absorb the jolt.’
    • ‘Magnetic levitation occurs when the magnetic force is strong enough to overcome gravity and balance a body's weight.’
    • ‘The power to hoist such weight is not all brute strength - though physical force is crucial.’
    • ‘It was like a small explosion of force, launching Joren backward several feet.’
    • ‘Vertical impact force is the stress placed on the body as a result of contacting the ground during movement.’
    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 by its acceleration.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In many ways, however, the weak force resembles the electromagnetic force.’
      • ‘If the spin and field are left antiparallel, the attractive force will slow the vibration.’
      • ‘Because of the increased mass, more force is needed to accelerate the object.’
    2. 1.2in 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’
    • ‘They stopped the tribal wars, first by agreements and then by force.’
    • ‘Either by force or by coercion, any sprouting counter-power will be neutralized.’
    • ‘If the guilty won't hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.’
    • ‘A final blow, White now threatens checkmate in one move and Black is lost by force.’
    • ‘Who acts on the principle that violence, force and the threat of bloodshed are worthy tools of diplomacy?’
    • ‘As Ibrahim counsels, it is a mistake to believe that force can eliminate Islamist movements.’
    • ‘You can't get somebody to do something by force, by duress, by overcoming their will.’
    • ‘Thus, freedom of speech is converted from a human right into a tool of oppression that must be blunted by force.’
    • ‘From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.’
    • ‘And if you go back far enough, just about all of it was originally taken by force.’
    • ‘Sovereignty could be transferred by force or by treaty, but it had to be transferred.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At times, hunting parties encountered other camps of women, and they took them by force under threat of death.’
    • ‘Secondly, China continues to threaten to resolve the Taiwan issue by force.’
    • ‘In Christ we learn that God is in control, but not as a ruthless tyrant ruling by force and intimidation.’
    • ‘Our whole trade is one of sufferance and compulsion, and by force alone can be maintained…’
    • ‘Another road is to wait until someone else has produced wealth, and then to seize it by force and violence.’
    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’
    • ‘A Declaration of the General Assembly is not, by definition, legally binding though it has strong moral force.’
    • ‘The world, including nature and humankind, stands or falls with the type of moral force at work.’
    • ‘Take the references to god out of Dr. King's speeches and they lose none of their moral force.’
    • ‘As a mother, I appreciate the moral and emotional force of this recourse to the maternal.’
    • ‘He argued that moral force would win the day, drawing on the Shi'ite themes of martyrdom and self-sacrifice.’
    • ‘Beethoven delighted Rousseau's Romantic admirers with his demonstration of the moral force expressible in music.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And if Islam is a universal moral force, which indeed it is, there is no need for any state to sustain it.’
    • ‘She concluded that the repetition of such images ultimately neutralizes their moral force.’
    • ‘First, how are we to explain the motivational force of moral norms on this basis?’
    • ‘This was when the millionaire celebrity author at last acquired the moral force for which he is still recognised.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is impossible now to guess where the intellectual certainty and moral force came from.’
    • ‘But we civil society groups have the moral force of conviction that all human beings have rights and must be treated with dignity.’
    • ‘This time the world is alerted, and we must use our collective moral force to nip this outrage in the bud.’
    • ‘Does ‘our culture of spectatorship neutralise the moral force of photographs of atrocities’?’
    • ‘Raising her hands in defense, her mind instinctively brought up a shield of mental force.’
    intensity, feeling, passion, vigour, vigorousness, vehemence, drive, fierceness
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    1. 3.1 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.’
      • ‘They see the global power of capitalism as a force for good in the world.’
      • ‘Nara too pointed out that only if Japan, India and China could form an alliance, Asia could prove to be a force for peace.’
      • ‘I believe in fair play and have always endeavoured to be a force for good in politics.’
      • ‘Murdoch is well aware of the massive global power he wields as a force for liberty and the empowerment of the individual.’
      • ‘He's a force for evil now, whether or not he ever was anything but.’
      • ‘Since the end of the Second World War, Canada has prided itself on being a force for international justice.’
      • ‘The Catholic church may well be a force for intolerance and reaction.’
      • ‘He truly believes in the United States as a force for Good in the world, and who am I to criticize him for that?’
      • ‘As such, it became a force for exclusion rather than inclusion.’
      • ‘Our democratic government becomes a force for good because it reflects those values.’
      • ‘Much discussion in our modern world revolves around the concept of globalization and whether it is a force for good or evil.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is a paean to the power and value of globalisation as a force for good.’
      • ‘Let me be a force for you in my life, my Church, my Community, my City, and my Country!’
      • ‘If you are a force for change in the universe, what do you seek to change and how?’
      • ‘The brand evangelists will tell you that brands are a force for good.’
      • ‘It may not be fashionable to say it but America has long been a force for good in international relations.’
      • ‘Whether the expansion of such influences is a force for good or evil depends on the character of any given nation.’
      • ‘So too the wider process (of which the telephone is part) can be a force for good or ill.’
      agency, power, influence, instrument, vehicle, means, cause, effect
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    2. 3.2 The powerful effect of something.
      ‘the force of her writing is undiminished’
      • ‘When we act with conviction and genuine concern, our words have that much more force and power.’
      • ‘The catalogue can never represent the immensity, force, and power of any given artwork.’
      • ‘An art form that is both abstract and spiritual is a very powerful force - and in a sense transcends mere politics.’
      • ‘Are we aware of evil's reality yet blind to its force and effects, unable to name and describe it?’
      • ‘Addiction, which comes from the Latin to enslave, has a powerful rhetorical force in our culture.’
      cogency, weight, effectiveness, efficacy, efficaciousness, soundness, validity, strength, might, power, significance, influence, authority, impressiveness, eloquence, persuasiveness, credibility, conclusiveness
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  • 4An organized body of military personnel or police.

    ‘a soldier in a UN peacekeeping force’
    • ‘I tend to take the more traditional view that the worst thing a military force can do is fail in its mission.’
    • ‘This includes supporting foreign police and military forces.’
    • ‘Judo has since been used in training for police and military forces around the world.’
    • ‘A military force has to do more than keep the public at home informed.’
    • ‘Added to military and constabulary forces are the civil police of international organizations.’
    • ‘A sizeable force of police officers raided the room and found all four men inside smoking their merchandise.’
    • ‘The killings by the military force and the police have legal sanction.’
    • ‘He also insists that any future Palestinian state must have only one police or military 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.’
    • ‘Charles sought peace at home and abroad by putting together a military force.’
    • ‘Where once hundreds of US airmen paraded, police officers from Scotland's seven forces now patrol.’
    • ‘UK police officers from forces around the country are spending two or three week stints in Thailand before returning home for welfare reasons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The 2,000-strong police and military force arrived in the Solomons two weeks ago.’
    • ‘By nightfall, local police and U.N. peacekeeping forces had been deployed, and a nighttime curfew was declared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The simple fact that a military force can strike a massive blow is irrelevant.’
    body, body of people, group, outfit, party, team
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    1. 4.1forces Troops and weaponry.
      figurative ‘a battle between the forces of good and evil’
      ‘concealment from enemy forces’
      • ‘Once friendly forces demonstrate the ability to mass fires, enemy forces will break contact.’
      • ‘Democracies are entitled to try officers and soldiers of enemy forces for war crimes.’
      • ‘When ground troops were involved, enemy forces easily performed military breaching across mine fields.’
      • ‘In 1994, even as the military reduced its forces, more soldiers applied for benefits.’
      • ‘As Team Alpha moves toward CP8, a steady roll of armored forces advance toward the enemy.’
      • ‘His guerrilla forces have killed American troops and many Iraqi civilians.’
      • ‘Under such blows the enemy has to divide its forces thus allowing the troops on the offensive to destroy the enemy group piecemeal.’
      • ‘Ground forces could then pass enemy coordinates directly to strike aircraft.’
      • ‘This new quality of artillery will lay the groundwork for in-depth effective engagement of enemy forces.’
      • ‘Often, for surrounded troops, the supplies would land among the enemy forces.’
      • ‘Paratroops were mostly used as advance forces or rear guard forces.’
      • ‘A common task for a checkpoint operation was to identify enemy forces and criminal activity.’
      • ‘There has also been extensive collusion between the police and nationalist forces.’
      • ‘The second day the friendly forces advanced while the enemy force attempted to deny the route and destroy HQ elements.’
      • ‘In the defense, mounted units must also fight and destroy enemy forces moving into this battlespace.’
      • ‘Profiting from a mutiny, the rebel forces deployed their troops rapidly and cut the country virtually in two.’
      • ‘At the same time, high officers were not slow to point out the need of a new generation of weaponry for the Soviet forces.’
      • ‘Maneuver is at the basis of massing artillery, aviation, engineer and other troops, forces and assets.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 4.2 A group of people brought together and organized for a particular activity.
      ‘a sales force’
      • ‘Now Ann Summers has a sales force of 7,500 party organisers and 120 shops in the UK.’
      • ‘The sales forces of medtech companies are hungry for additional products.’
      • ‘It prevented student organization by enlisting a force of students to report on political activity.’
      • ‘In reality, it brought together some of the world's most socially conservative religious forces.’
      • ‘Elan acquired five US businesses and spent time on bringing those companies and their separate sales forces under the one brand.’
      • ‘In both cases, pro-US political forces brought down governments that were aligned with Moscow.’
      • ‘She says that by backing al-Sadr, we would help secular and more progressive religious forces to organise.’
      • ‘Young players and weathered campaigners pulled together as a force that was more than a team.’
    3. 4.3the forceinformal A police department.
      • ‘He was from the force's science department, and he said he had come to take fingerprints.’
      • ‘An investigation will now be carried out by Insp Ian Lemon of the force's professional standards department.’
      • ‘We now have the situation where the entire force has been tarnished by the Minister as corrupt on the basis of a newspaper article.’
      • ‘Chief Inspector Bob Farmer, of the force's road policing department, said the cause of the accident was unclear.’
      • ‘The council is asking the police to reconsider the decision and wants the force to defend any possible legal challenge in the courts.’
      • ‘If a serving officer was to be found guilty of possessing a class A drug they would face dismissal from the force and a possible jail sentence.’
      • ‘They fear a future incident could spark a situation where the force's armed response team is called out.’
  • 5Baseball
    A force-out.

    • ‘The fielder threw to second to get the force and then threw to third to tag me out.’
    • ‘The force was not in order, but Santo thinking he had been retired, started toward the dugout.’
    • ‘If Posada had tagged Alicea first, he would have removed the force at the plate.’
    1. 5.1 A situation in which a force-out is possible.
      • ‘It's important for runners and defensive players to know when a force is in effect and when it is removed.’


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

    ‘they broke into Fred's house and forced every cupboard door with ax or crowbar’
    • ‘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. 1.1with object and adverbial Drive or push into a specified position or state using physical strength or against resistance.
      ‘she forced her feet into flat leather sandals’
      figurative ‘Fields was forced out as director’
      • ‘His hands then slid into the cracks of the door, forcing them open.’
      • ‘The starfish alone has both the strength and tenacity to force an oyster open.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 defender, recognizing his perilous position, then forces the space open.’
      • ‘She watched Chris run into the kitchen and slam into the back door, forcing it open.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has forced himself into the position by gripping the bat right at the bottom of the handle.’
      • ‘Sam pushed against the raw strength forcing her down; it did little good.’
      • ‘Burglars broke into the house by forcing open a conservatory window and a door leading into the kitchen.’
      • ‘That score seemed to put Stradbally on the wrong foot and forced the Reds back into defensive mode.’
      • ‘Then everyone started to plunder the town and to search the houses, forcing open the doors with axes and iron bars.’
      • ‘And no-one, or very few, will be forced out of positions funded by us poor suckers, the taxpayers.’
      • ‘All three houses either had their windows forced open or broken between 12 noon and 5pm.’
      • ‘They have ducked the issue this time but Outrage is pushing hard to force Scotland Yard off the fence.’
      • ‘He pulled his door open, forcing the crowd back, and slid into his seat.’
      • ‘At the same time another three men broke through the wall behind the building, forced open a door and planted the bombs.’
      • ‘It took every speck of willpower and strength she had to force them back to an even position.’
      • ‘He could barely breath and his body was in pain from the unnatural position he'd forced himself into.’
      • ‘When he realised they were intruders he tried to shut the door but they forced it open and attacked him with a crowbar.’
      propel, push, thrust, shove, drive, press, pump, expel
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    2. 1.2 Achieve or bring about (something) by coercion or effort.
      ‘Sabine forced a smile’
      ‘she forced her way up the ladder’
      • ‘They forced their way in, demanded money and snatched a cordless phone from the man's hand before ransacking the house.’
      • ‘The gang forced their way into the victim's home in Broadoak Road at about 9.30 pm on Monday.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After a slow start, they forced their way back into the game.’
      • ‘An 81-year-old woman told yesterday how two men forced their way into her home and attacked her with a hammer.’
      • ‘I forced my way through to her and someone took off her oxygen mask.’
      • ‘Stained glass windows at the church were damaged after burglars forced their way in through them in three previous burglaries.’
      • ‘At 11.15 pm, officers behind shields forced their way into the flat and overpowered the man.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Four laps in and Webster forced a way through at Paddock Hill bend, grabbed the lead and started inexorably to pull away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Police yesterday said she was subjected to another serious sexual assault by a stranger who forced his way into her home last April.’
      • ‘Both sides then added penalties before Newbridge forced their way over for a try following a tapped penalty.’
      • ‘A man, who had forced his way in through the bungalow's kitchen window, then walked into Christopher's bedroom.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The protestors forced their way through the crowd and began heckling Ryan.’
      • ‘He forced his way into the dispensary and grabbed the pharmacist's 60-year-old assistant.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 Push or strain (something) to the utmost.
      ‘she knew if she forced it she would rip it’
      • ‘It is important to make sure that the frame is not too high to fit under the tread comfortably as forcing it will push the tread up from its position.’
      • ‘Now, does he have to take some responsibility for not pushing it, not forcing it?’
    4. 1.4 Artificially hasten the development or maturity of (a plant).
      • ‘Most bulbs need to be chilled for many weeks before they can be forced.’
      • ‘The nice thing about forcing Amaryllis bulbs into flower inside the home is that it is so simple to do.’
      • ‘Paperwhites are best forced in a shallow pot or bowl with no drainage holes in the bottom.’
      • ‘For example, bulbs like crocuses and daffodils, which are good at naturalizing, generally do well planted out after forcing.’
      • ‘Bulbs that are used for forcing indoors cannot be forced two years in succession.’
      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 and infinitive ‘the universities were forced to cut staff’
    • ‘Ever troublesome to Napoleon, he was forced into temporary retirement in 1812 at Napoleon's request.’
    • ‘The competition generated would be expected to force the most expensive banks to reduce their costs.’
    • ‘Bank creditors forced the company to break up its conglomerate structure after it breached its loan covenants in 2001.’
    • ‘How would mothers feel being forced to break up their families so that they can keep their children?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The rest of us are forced into what's little more than a massive pyramid scheme.’
    • ‘So he is forced into a feebly slow, piecemeal approach to an issue where boldness above all is required.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Brown's dangerous game is one which, to a large extent, he was forced into playing by the vagaries of the global market.’
    • ‘My son, who worked there, and the others were always offered breaks and were never forced to work extra hours.’
    • ‘I was again forced into doing commercials by a photographer friend of mine.’
    • ‘When he is forced into battle, he hides inside a cannon, and is catapulted into the tent of the enemy's general staff.’
    • ‘With irresistible strength he forced her to break her grip, holding her by her shoulders.’
    • ‘Most of all, I enjoyed the cappuccino and large piece of cake I was forced into having to warm up afterwards!’
    • ‘He was forced into a U-turn after a furious reaction to his plans not to travel to Normandy.’
    • ‘But just as the Queen was about to arrive in her carriage a thunderstorm broke, forcing everyone to run for cover.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Experts say one mistaken belief is that the state will look after you if you are forced into taking a long spell off work.’
    compel, coerce, make, constrain, oblige, impel, drive, necessitate, pressurize, pressure, press, push
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    1. 2.1 Rape (a woman).
      • ‘The allegation is that she took the boy into the classroom cupboard and kissed him, though she insists he forced himself upon her.’
      • ‘Tears rolled down his face as he watched the man tear her clothes away, forcing himself upon her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The woman has alleged he forced himself upon her when she was staying overnight at his house.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Besides the way you can punch I don't think any man would want to force themselves upon you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Not interested in the shame, I resisted when he tried to force himself upon me.’
      • ‘What if the soldiers force themselves upon you?’
      • ‘They may do so today, and if the husband forces himself on his spouse, he is guilty of marital rape.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In an ally way not to far from the construction site, a woman struggled as a hefty man forced himself upon her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The appellant denied that he forced himself upon the complainant.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2Baseball Put out (a runner), or cause (a runner) to be put out, at the base to which they are advancing when they are forced to run on a batted ball.
      ‘I was forced at second base as the first half of a double play’
      • ‘He walked Rico Petrocelli, forcing Doyle home with Boston's second run.’
      • ‘As soon as that happens the runner on first is no longer forced to go to second.’
      • ‘Martinez quickly picked the ball up and tagged third base, seemingly forcing Gibson.’
      • ‘Jim Landis made the first out, forcing Shaw at the plate.’
      • ‘Rivera fielded the ball, but threw it into center field in attempting to force Dellucci at second.’
    3. 2.3 (in cards) make a play or bid that compels another player to make (a particular response); make a play or bid that compels (another player) to make such a response.
      ‘East could force declarer to ruff another spade’
      • ‘You might be forced to play those trump cards, and win the ensuing tricks.’
      • ‘This in turn could be outbid by three identical cards, forcing the player who exposed the pair to take them back, and so on.’
      • ‘I put myself all-in, as a big bet would probably force all my opponents to fold.’
      • ‘If a player's only card is an eight, s/he cannot play it and is forced to draw a card that turn.’
      • ‘Playing a Joker forces every other player to draw a card.’


  • by force of

    • By means of.

      ‘exercising authority 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.’
      • ‘If one man could turn the whole city around 180 degrees, by force of will, then maybe individual decisions do count.’
      • ‘Jean Grey doesn't have an odd name, but she is psychic with telekinesis, tossing people around by force of will.’
      • ‘And that won't be achieved by force of arms in foreign lands.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And it was evident we couldn't force democracy on people by force of arms…’
  • 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.’
      • ‘Its edge of a knife stuff as the auction reaches its climax with buyers forcing the bidding higher and higher.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • force someone's hand

    • Make someone do something.

      ‘the exchange markets may force the Fed's hand’
      • ‘One undergraduate stated that college was ‘forcing our hand and exterminating our right to peaceful protest’.’
      • ‘Of course, if things get out of hand, the markets will force the Fed 's 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.’
      • ‘It was the South that would force his hand as President to use force to keep the nation together.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Now there is nothing, no one is forcing my hand overtly or covertly.’
      • ‘But they wouldn't make an offer until we forced their hand.’
      • ‘Restricted opportunity for legal migration has forced their 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.’
      • ‘You can force the issue, using the techniques described in Chapter 4, and override the RPM system.’
      • ‘The American Civil Liberties Union is forcing the issue.’
      • ‘Customs would rather see companies continue to trade and obviously settle their bills than go down the road of forcing the issue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They must have made their decision that they were going to force the issue and make Indiana come up higher to start their offense.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘To declare the clock running is to force the issue of congressional debate and decision.’
  • force the pace

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One possible reaction, of course, is to wait, allow better technologies to develop organically rather than forcing the pace, while gathering more data.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After that, the game could have gone either way, except that Tipperary were again forcing 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.’
      • ‘U.S. history is evidence that forcing the pace of federation and destroying local independence can be a pretty quick way to serious conflict.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At his best when forcing the pace, he can show his rivals a clean pair of heels on this fast circuit.’
  • 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

    • The state of being in effect or valid.

      ‘the law came into force in January’
      ‘the US has over $8 trillion worth of life insurance in force’
      • ‘If approved, it is hoped it will come into force within the current financial year.’
      • ‘Saturday marked the first test of the controversial Hunting Act, which came into force on Friday.’
      • ‘Other large businesses have been working to limit the effects of the ban before it comes into force.’
      • ‘The building needs to comply with the disability discrimination act that comes into force at the end of the month.’
      • ‘The huge payments are being made under a clause in the consultants' new contract that came into force this year.’
      • ‘A judicial review is to be launched today at the High Court to overturn the ban which comes into force in February.’
      • ‘Huntsmen say they have made a mockery of the law by legally killing a fox, only hours after the hunting ban came into force.’
      • ‘It exceeds all standards and will do very well with the energy labelling when it comes into force.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But this could be due to the fact application forms were only available on the day the act came into force.’
      • ‘From April a new system of collecting garden waste will come into force.’
      • ‘The electoral roll which Bradford Council is working from came into force on December 1.’
      • ‘This is the third set of powers contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act to come into force locally.’
      • ‘He specifically hit out at the new EU-imposed restrictions which came into force last January.’
      • ‘The government has also begun council tax revaluation, which comes into force in 2007.’
      • ‘New Zealand banned smoking in all workplaces last December and a similar ban has just come into force in Italy.’
      • ‘Today, the civil unions bill comes into force, and people can apply for a licence.’
      • ‘The order comes into force on Saturday and will remain active for six months.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

      ‘I forced down a slice of toast’
      • ‘Nicholas, too, had trouble eating, but he forced the food down his throat as his mind was fogged with clouds of worry.’
      • ‘Blinking away her tears, she dragged herself over to the food and forced the food down.’
      • ‘If I try to eat, I can't seem to force the food down.’
      • ‘Just remember to rehydrate, force some bland food down and drink some more alcohol as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘She was obviously too stressed and worried to eat, but tried to force some food down anyway.’
      • ‘‘Thanks,’ she whispered, and managed to force the fry down.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 was quite literally forcing the food down because I needed to replenish my body.’
    • 2Compel an aircraft to land.

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

    • Rape (a woman).

      • ‘In a low voice, made rough with strain, Spike told me, ‘I tried to force myself on her.’’
      • ‘When Felicia decides to force herself on him, he - like any man too good to be true - turns into a frog.’
      • ‘Perhaps it comes from the difference of rape, it's pretty damn hard for a woman to force herself on a man.’
      • ‘It doesn't take much to realize that it's much harder for an older female to force herself on a man, than vice-versa.’
      • ‘A man accuses a woman of trying to force herself on him, and a woman accuses a man of attacking her.’
  • force something on/upon

    • Impose or press something on (a person or organization)

      ‘economic cutbacks were forced on the government’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 assumed it was to stop a fascist, racist dictator from forcing his views on the people of Britain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most parents commit the ‘blunder’ of forcing their choice on their wards.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I myself do believe in the Ten Commandments, but don't believe in forcing my beliefs on those who don't.’
      • ‘The first time I kept getting up on stage and forcing my opinion on the actors.’
      • ‘They are extremely hostile to anything conservative - and very enthusiastic about forcing their cause on others’
      • ‘Furthermore, a referendum is nothing more than the majority forcing its view on the minority.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I usually end up forcing my company upon others.’
      • ‘I think that forcing our own notion of government into power and forcing our beliefs on these people is not what should happen.’
      • ‘At least this way I wont be forcing my company upon others.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, he distracts from the real issues that should be debated by forcing his opinion on us as well.’
      • ‘Western societies are guilty of overlooking their own discriminatory practices, while forcing their customs upon immigrants.’


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




Main definitions of force in US English:

: force1force2



Northern English
  • A waterfall.


Late Middle English: from Old Norse fors.