Definition of force noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fɔːs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//fɔːrs//
    Energy and physical forces, The police, The navy, Wind
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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 centre took the full force of the blast. She hits the ball with amazing force for someone so small. See related entries: Energy and physical forces
  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. somebody/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 English law. The culprits must expect to face the full force of the law.
  10. group of people
  11. 6  [countable + singular or plural verb] a group of people who have been organized for a particular purpose a member of the sales force A large proportion of the labour force (= all the people who work in a particular company, area, etc.) is unskilled. see also workforce
  12. military
  13. 7  [countable + singular or plural verb] 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. 8the forces [plural] (British English) the army, navy and air force allied forces see also armed forces See related entries: The navy
  15. 9forces [plural] the weapons and soldiers that an army, etc. has, considered as things that may be used strategic nuclear forces.
  16. police
  17. 10the force [singular] the police force He joined the force twenty years ago. See related entries: The police
  18. physics
  19. 11   [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 see also centripetal force Wordfinderamplitude, atom, energy, fission, force, frequency, gravity, molecule, nuclear, physics
  20. of wind
  21. 12 [countable, usually singular] a unit for measuring the strength of the wind a force 9 gale a gale force wind Wordfinderbreeze, buffet, calm, force, gale, gust, hurricane, prevailing, tornado, wind See related entries: Wind
  22. see also tour de force
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French force (noun), forcer (verb), based on Latin fortis ‘strong’.Word Familyforce noun verbforceful adjectiveforcefully adverbforced adjective (unforced)forcible adjectiveforcibly adverbenforce verbExtra examples A large expeditionary force is now being assembled. A small peacekeeping force will be deployed in the area. Competition is a force for change in industry. Deep internal forces cause movements of the earth’s crust. Even the opposition MPs felt the force of the prime minister’s argument. Everyone felt the force of his argument. He called on the local population to rise up against the occupying forces. I felt the full force of her criticism. In the end, we had to resort to brute force to get the door open. It was as if an invisible force field kept us apart. Local parents were the driving force behind the project. More troops have been called in to support the coalition forces there. Our house took the full force of the bomb blast. Professional standards often do not have the force of law. Rebel forces now control most of the capital. She decided to join the armed forces. She used her sheer force of personality to keep the family together. She was seen as a potentially disruptive force within the party. Some archaic laws are still in force. Some laws relating to obsolete customs are still in force. The contract was not signed and has no binding force. The country’s attempts to meet force with force led to the outbreak of war. The country’s attempts to meet force with force= resist an attack using force led to the outbreak of war. The forces of expansion are balanced by forces of contraction. The king made laws and imposed them by force. The new law comes into force as from midnight tomorrow. The play portrays a marriage torn apart by external forces. The regulations allow the use of force if necessary. The sun exerts a force on the earth. The troops marched in and took the city by force. The two companies have joined forces to form a new consortium. The wind was increasing to gale force. These elite forces are the best equipped and trained in the world. This is a politician who does not like to balance market forces. Though officially retired, she remains the creative force behind the design business. UN forces operating in the region With its new players, the team is now very much a force to be reckoned with. a UN deadline for the withdrawal of forces a company’s labour force a joint task force a token force of only 300 men hurricane-force winds lateral forces acting on the car’s suspension people in the security forces powerful natural forces such as earthquakes and drought powerful social and economic forces shifts in the balance of political forces in Europe the US labour/​labor force the attractive and repulsive forces between individual particles the combined forces of MI5 and Scotland Yard the country’s labour force the decision to send armed forces over the border the force field of a magnet to fight the forces of evil A UN-led task force of 28 000 troops was sent to the area. A peace-keeping force was deployed to the area. Allied forces were able to advance to the capital. He controlled himself by sheer force of will. Many social and economic forces contributed to this trend. Police were accused of using excessive force. Suddenly it came home to me with tremendous force that this was my last chance. The country now has its own army, air force and navy. The culprits must expect to face the full force of the law. The emotional force of the songs derives from their universal themes. The expansion of higher education was a powerful force for change. The force of the blast hurled bodies into the air. The force of this argument was recognized by the committee. The government is negotiating cuts to nuclear forces. The rioters were taken away by force. There were plans to seize power by force of arms. They see the world as a battleground between the forces of good and evil. We achieve much more by persuasion than by brute force. We had to resort to force to get the door open. We were visited by a member of the security forces.Idioms
    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.
     (of a law, rule, etc.) to start being used When do the new regulations come into force? 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 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 person or group that no longer has any power or influence The opposition party is now a spent political force.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: force