Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *fortia, from Latin fortis strong
Date: 14th century
(1) strength or energy exerted or brought to bear ; cause of motion or change ; active power <the forces of nature> <the motivating force in her life> (2) capitalized — used with a number to indicate the strength of the wind according to the Beaufort scale <a Force 10 hurricane> b. moral or mental strength c. capacity to persuade or convince <the force of the argument> 2. a. military strength b. (1) a body (as of troops or ships) assigned to a military purpose (2) plural the whole military strength (as of a nation) c. a body of persons or things available for a particular end <a labor force> <the missile force> d. an individual or group having the power of effective action <join forces to prevent violence> <a force in politics> e. often capitalized police force — usually used with the 3. violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing 4. a. an agency or influence that if applied to a free body results chiefly in an acceleration of the body and sometimes in elastic deformation and other effects b. any of the natural influences (as electromagnetism, gravity, the strong force, and the weak force) that exist especially between particles and determine the structure of the universe 5. the quality of conveying impressions intensely in writing or speech <stated the objectives with force> Synonyms: see power • forceless adjective II. transitive verb (forced; forcing) Date: 14th century 1. to do violence to; especially rape 2. to compel by physical, moral, or intellectual means 3. to make or cause especially through natural or logical necessity <forced to admit my error> <the last minute goal forced overtime> 4. a. to press, drive, pass, or effect against resistance or inertia <force your way through> b. to impose or thrust urgently, importunately, or inexorably <force unwanted attentions on a coworker> 5. to achieve or win by strength in struggle or violence: as a. to win one's way into <force a castle> <forced the mountain passes> b. to break open or through <force a lock> 6. a. to raise or accelerate to the utmost <forcing the pace> b. to produce only with unnatural or unwilling effort <forced a smile> c. to wrench, strain, or use (language) with marked unnaturalness and lack of ease 7. a. to hasten the rate of progress or growth of b. to bring (as plants) to maturity out of the normal season <forcing lilies for Easter> 8. to induce (as a particular bid or play by another player) in a card game by some conventional act, play, bid, or response 9. a. to cause (a runner in baseball) to be put out on a force-out b. to cause (a run) to be scored in baseball by giving a base on balls when the bases are full • forcer noun Synonyms: force, compel, coerce, constrain, oblige mean to make someone or something yield. force is the general term and implies the overcoming of resistance by the exertion of strength, power, or duress <forced to flee for their lives>. compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force <compelled to admit my mistake>. coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure <coerced into signing over the rights>. constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice <constrained by conscience>. oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty <felt obliged to go>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.