American English

Definition of force noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    violent action
  1. 1[uncountable] violent physical action used to obtain or achieve something The release of the hostages could not be achieved without the use of force. The rioters were taken away by force. The ultimatum contained the threat of military force. We will achieve much more by persuasion than by brute force. plans to seize power by force of arms (= by military force)
  2. physical strength
  3. 2[uncountable] the physical strength of something that is shown as it hits something else the force of the blow/explosion/collision The shopping mall took the full force of the blast. She hits the ball with amazing force for someone so small.
  4. strong effect
  5. 3[uncountable] the strong effect or influence of something They realized the force of her argument. He controlled himself by sheer force of will. She spoke with force and deliberation.
  6. someone or something with power
  7. 4[countable] a person or thing that has a lot of power or influence economic/market forces the forces of good/evil Ron is the driving force (= the person who has the most influence) behind the project. She's a force to be reckoned with (= a person who has a lot of power and influence and should therefore be treated seriously). The expansion of higher education should be a powerful force for change. Television has become a major force in American political life. He was finally defeated by forces beyond his control.
  8. authority
  9. 5[uncountable] the authority of something These guidelines do not have the force of law. The court ruled that these standards have force in civil law. The culprits must expect to face the full force of the law.
  10. group of people
  11. 6[countable] a group of people who have been organized for a particular purpose a member of the sales force A large proportion of the labor force (= all the people who work in a particular company, area, etc.) is unskilled. see also workforce
  12. military
  13. 7[countable] a group of people who have been trained to protect other people, usually by using weapons a member of the security forces rebel/government forces a peace-keeping force see also air force, police force, task force
  14. 8forces [plural] the weapons and soldiers that an army, etc. has, considered as things that may be used strategic nuclear forces.
  15. police
  16. 9the force [singular] the police force He joined the force twenty years ago.
  17. physics
  18. 10[countable, uncountable] an effect that causes things to move in a particular way The moon exerts a force on the earth. the force of gravity magnetic/centrifugal force
  19. of wind
  20. 11[countable, usually singular] a unit for measuring the strength of the wind a force 9 gale a gale force wind see also tour de force
  21. Word Familyforce noun verbforceful adjectiveforcefully adverbforced adjective (unforced)forcible adjectiveforcibly adverbenforce verbforce noun verbforceful adjectiveforcefully adverbforced adjective (unforced)forcible adjectiveforcibly adverbenforce verbIdioms
    bring something into force
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    to cause a law, rule, etc. to start being used They are hoping to bring the new legislation into force before the end of the year.
    come/enter into force
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    (of a law, rule, etc.) to start being used When do the new regulations come into force?
    force of habit
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    if you do something from or out of force of habit, you do it automatically and in a particular way because you have always done it that way in the past It's force of habit that gets me out of bed at 6:15 each morning.
    the forces of nature
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    the power of the wind, rain, etc., especially when it causes damage or harm They were fighting a losing battle against the forces of nature.
    1. 1(of people) in large numbers Protesters turned out in force.
    2. 2(of a law, rule, etc.) being used The new regulations are now in force.
    join/combine forces (with somebody)
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    to work together in order to achieve a shared aim The two firms joined forces to win the contract.
    a spent force
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    a person or group that no longer has any power or influence The opposition party is now a spent political force.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: force