force

Force describes a physical energy that can be seen or felt. If you've ever walked outside in a blizzard, you've experienced the force, or strength, of the wind. May the force be with you!

Force has other meanings as well. A powerful person can exert a force just by using particular words or body language. Written words can exert a force, or have a strong influence, on your opinion. As a verb, force means to make something happen using physical strength or some other powerful effort, which is what you do when you try to force a square peg into a round hole through vigorous pounding. And of course, in the Star Wars movie franchise, the force refers to the mystical energy contained in all living things. May that definition of this word always be with you.

Primary Meanings of force

1.
nv
(physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity
cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means :"She forced him to take a job in the city"
2.
n
a group of people having the power of effective action
3.
n
a putout of a base runner who is required to run; the putout is accomplished by holding the ball while touching the base to which the runner must advance before the runner reaches that base
Full Definitions of force
1

n (physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity

force equals mass times acceleration”
Types:
show 33 types...
hide 33 types...
aerodynamic force
forces acting on airfoils in motion relative to the air (or other gaseous fluids)
affinity, chemical attraction
the force attracting atoms to each other and binding them together in a molecule
attraction, attractive force
the force by which one object attracts another
repulsion, repulsive force
the force by which bodies repel one another
centrifugal force
the outward force on a body moving in a curved path around another body
centripetal force
the inward force on a body moving in a curved path around another body
cohesion
(physics) the intermolecular force that holds together the molecules in a solid or liquid
Coriolis force
(physics) a force due to the earth's rotation; acts on a body in motion (airplane or projectile) in a rotating reference frame; in a rotating frame of reference Newton's second law of motion can be made to apply if in addition to the real forces acting on a body a Coriolis force and a centrifugal force are introduced
drift, impetus, impulsion
a force that moves something along
Lorentz force
the force experienced by a point charge moving along a wire that is in a magnetic field; the force is at right angles to both the current and the magnetic field
moment
a turning force produced by an object acting at a distance (or a measure of that force)
propulsion
a propelling force
pull
the force used in pulling
push, thrust
the force used in pushing
reaction
(mechanics) the equal and opposite force that is produced when any force is applied to a body
stress
(physics) force that produces strain on a physical body
torque, torsion
a twisting force
magnetomotive force
the force that produces magnetic flux
elan vital, life force, vital force, vitality
(biology) a hypothetical force (not physical or chemical) once thought by Henri Bergson to cause the evolution and development of organisms
aerodynamic lift, lift
the component of the aerodynamic forces acting on an airfoil that opposes gravity
affinity
(immunology) the attraction between an antigen and an antibody
bond, chemical bond
an electrical force linking atoms
gravitation, gravitational attraction, gravitational force, gravity
(physics) the force of attraction between all masses in the universe; especially the attraction of the earth's mass for bodies near its surface
moment of inertia
the tendency of a body to resist angular acceleration
magnetic attraction, magnetic force, magnetism
attraction for iron; associated with electric currents as well as magnets; characterized by fields of force
moment of a couple
given two equal and opposite forces, the product of the force and the distance between them
dipole moment
the moment of a dipole
magnetic moment, moment of a magnet
the torque exerted on a magnet or dipole when it is placed in a magnetic field
nuclear propulsion
the use of a nuclear reactor either to produce electricity to power an engine (as in a nuclear submarine) or to directly heat a propellant (as in nuclear rockets)
reaction propulsion
propulsion that results from the ejection at high velocity of a mass of gas to which the vehicle reacts with an equal and opposite momentum
tension
(physics) a stress that produces an elongation of an elastic physical body
breaking point
the degree of tension or stress at which something breaks
van der Waal's forces
relatively weak attraction between neutral atoms and molecules arising from polarization induced in each particle by the presence of other particles
Type of:
physical phenomenon
a natural phenomenon involving the physical properties of matter and energy

n physical energy or intensity

“he hit with all the force he could muster”
Synonyms:
forcefulness, strength
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
brunt
main force of a blow, etc,
impulse, momentum
an impelling force or strength
energy, vigor, vigour, zip
forceful exertion
athleticism, strenuosity
intense energy
Type of:
intensity, intensiveness
high level or degree; the property of being intense

n a powerful effect or influence

“the force of his eloquence easily persuaded them”
Types:
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
pressure
a force that compels
duress
compulsory force or threat
heartbeat
an animating or vital unifying force
lifeblood
an essential or life-giving force
wheel
forces that provide energy and direction
Type of:
influence
a power to affect persons or events especially power based on prestige etc

n one possessing or exercising power or influence or authority

“may the force be with you”
“the forces of evil”
Synonyms:
power
Types:
juggernaut, steamroller
a massive inexorable force that seems to crush everything in its way
influence
one having power to influence another
Moloch
a tyrannical power to be propitiated by human subservience or sacrifice
Type of:
causal agency, causal agent, cause
any entity that produces an effect or is responsible for events or results

n (of a law) having legal validity

Synonyms:
effect
Type of:
validity, validness
the quality of having legal force or effectiveness

n an act of aggression (as one against a person who resists)

“he may accomplish by craft in the long run what he cannot do by force and violence in the short one”
Synonyms:
violence
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
domestic violence
violence or physical abuse directed toward your spouse or domestic partner; usually violence by men against women
road rage
violence exhibited by drivers in traffic
public violence, riot
a public act of violence by an unruly mob
race riot
a riot caused by hatred for one another of members of different races in the same community
Type of:
aggression, hostility
violent action that is hostile and usually unprovoked

v cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means :"She forced him to take a job in the city"

Synonyms:
coerce, hale, pressure, squeeze
Types:
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
turn up the heat, turn up the pressure
apply great or increased pressure
drive
to compel or force or urge relentlessly or exert coercive pressure on, or motivate strongly
bludgeon
overcome or coerce as if by using a heavy club
steamroll, steamroller
bring to a specified state by overwhelming force or pressure
squeeze for
squeeze someone for money, information, etc.
dragoon, railroad, sandbag
compel by coercion, threats, or crude means
terrorise, terrorize
coerce by violence or with threats
bring oneself
cause to undertake a certain action, usually used in the negative
Type of:
compel, obligate, oblige
force somebody to do something

v force into or from an action or state, either physically or metaphorically

Synonyms:
drive, ram
drive
compel somebody to do something, often against his own will or judgment
drive
to compel or force or urge relentlessly or exert coercive pressure on, or motivate strongly
Types:
toe, toenail
drive obliquely
Type of:
thrust
push forcefully

v do forcibly; exert force

“Don't force it!”
Types:
show 8 types...
hide 8 types...
pull
apply force so as to cause motion towards the source of the motion
twist, wrench
twist or pull violently or suddenly, especially so as to remove (something) from that to which it is attached or from where it originates
gather
draw and bring closer
attract
exert a force on (a body) causing it to approach or prevent it from moving away
hike up, hitch up
pull up
pick at, pluck at, pull at
pluck or pull at with the fingers
draw back, pull back, retract
use a surgical instrument to hold open (the edges of a wound or an organ)
draw close
pull towards oneself
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

v urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate

Synonyms:
impel
Type of:
cause, do, make
give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally

v impose urgently, importunately, or inexorably

“She forced her diet fads on him”
Synonyms:
thrust
Types:
stick, sting
saddle with something disagreeable or disadvantageous
Type of:
compel, obligate, oblige
force somebody to do something

v move with force

Synonyms:
push
push
press against forcefully without moving
Antonyms:
draw, pull
cause to move by pulling
pull
apply force so as to cause motion towards the source of the motion
draw, pull
cause to move in a certain direction by exerting a force upon, either physically or in an abstract sense
show more antonyms...
Types:
show 31 types...
hide 31 types...
nudge, poke at, prod
to push against gently
press, push
make strenuous pushing movements during birth to expel the baby
beat back, drive, force back, push back, repel, repulse
cause to move back by force or influence
shove
push roughly
flick, jerk
throw or toss with a quick motion
jostle, shove
come into rough contact with while moving
nose
push or move with the nose
obtrude, push out, thrust out
push to thrust outward
push aside, push away
push out of the way
muscle into
force one's way
push up
push upward
thrust
push forcefully
drive
urge forward
jam
push down forcibly
shove, squeeze, stuff, thrust
press or force
tip, topple, tumble
cause to topple or tumble by pushing
dig, jab, poke, prod, stab
poke or thrust abruptly
jab, stab
stab or pierce
jog
give a slight push to
shoulder
push with the shoulders
elbow
shove one's elbow into another person's ribs
boost
push or shove upward, as if from below or behind
drive, ram
force into or from an action or state, either physically or metaphorically
pound, ram, ram down
strike or drive against with a heavy impact
punch
drive forcibly as if by a punch
uplift
lift up or elevate
boost up
push upward
elbow
push one's way with the elbows
shoulder in
push one's way in with one's shoulders
dig
thrust down or into
mush
drive (a team of dogs or a dogsled)
Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v cause to move by pulling

Synonyms:
draw, pull
pull
apply force so as to cause motion towards the source of the motion
draw, pull
cause to move in a certain direction by exerting a force upon, either physically or in an abstract sense
Antonyms:
push
move with force, "He pushed the table into a corner"
push
press against forcefully without moving
show more antonyms...
Types:
show 24 types...
hide 24 types...
twitch
move or pull with a sudden motion
pull back
move to a rearward position; pull towards the back
adduct
draw a limb towards the body
abduct
pull away from the body
stretch
pull in opposite directions
pick, pluck, plunk
pull lightly but sharply with a plucking motion
tug
pull or strain hard at
drag
pull, as against a resistance
cart, drag, hale, haul
draw slowly or heavily
attract, draw, draw in, pull, pull in
direct toward itself or oneself by means of some psychological power or physical attributes
jerk, yank
pull, or move with a sudden movement
winch
pull or lift up with or as if with a winch
pick off, pluck, pull off, tweak
pull or pull out sharply
draw, pull back
stretch back a bowstring (on an archer's bow)
skitter
twitch the hook of a fishing line through or along the surface of water
twang
pluck (strings of an instrument)
tug
pull hard
pull along, schlep, shlep
pull along heavily, like a heavy load against a resistance
trail, train
drag loosely along a surface; allow to sweep the ground
bouse, bowse
haul with a tackle
arrest, catch, get
attract and fix
draw in, retract
pull inward or towards a center
tweeze
pluck with tweezers
bring
attract the attention of
Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v squeeze like a wedge into a tight space

Synonyms:
squeeze, wedge
Types:
impact
press or wedge together; pack together
compact, compress, pack together
make more compact by or as if by pressing
pack, tamp, tamp down
press down tightly
Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v take by force

Synonyms:
storm
Type of:
penetrate, perforate
pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance
2

n a group of people having the power of effective action

“he joined forces with a band of adventurers”
Type of:
social group
people sharing some social relation

n group of people willing to obey orders

“a public force is necessary to give security to the rights of citizens”
Synonyms:
personnel
Examples:
Contras
a Nicaraguan counterrevolutionary guerrilla force from 1979 to 1990; it opposed a left-wing government, with support from the United States
Pesh Merga
a Kurdish guerrilla force in Iraqi Kurdistan
Types:
show 46 types...
hide 46 types...
guerilla force, guerrilla force
an irregular armed force that fights by sabotage and harassment; often rural and organized in large groups
armed service, military service, service
a force that is a branch of the armed forces
armed forces, armed services, military, military machine, war machine
the military forces of a nation
paramilitary, paramilitary force, paramilitary organisation, paramilitary organization, paramilitary unit
a group of civilians organized in a military fashion (especially to operate in place of or to assist regular army troops)
constabulary, law, police, police force
the force of policemen and officers
private security force, security force
a privately employed group hired to protect the security of a business or industry
MP, military police
a military corps that enforces discipline and guards prisoners
hands, manpower, men, work force, workforce
the force of workers available
patrol
a group that goes through a region at regular intervals for the purpose of security
military personnel, soldiery, troops
soldiers collectively
rank, rank and file
the ordinary members of an organization (such as the enlisted soldiers of an army)
staff
personnel who assist their superior in carrying out an assigned task
line personnel
personnel having direct job performance responsibilities
management personnel
personnel having overall planning and direction responsibilities
newsroom
the staff of a newspaper or the news department of a periodical
army, ground forces, regular army
a permanent organization of the military land forces of a nation or state
naval forces, navy
an organization of military vessels belonging to a country and available for sea warfare
coastguard
a military service responsible for the safety of maritime traffic in coastal waters
Marines
members of a body of troops trained to serve on land or at sea
air force, airforce
the airborne branch of a country's armed forces
military reserve, reserve
armed forces that are not on active duty but can be called in an emergency
fedayeen
(plural) Arab guerrillas who operate mainly against Israel
Fedayeen Saddam, Saddam's Martyrs
a feared paramilitary unit formed in 1995 by young soldiers to serve Saddam Hussein against domestic opponents
European Law Enforcement Organisation, Europol
police organization for the European Union; aims to improve effectiveness and cooperation among European police forces
gendarmerie, gendarmery
French police force; a group of gendarmes or gendarmes collectively
Mutawa, Mutawa'een
religious police in Saudi Arabia whose duty is to ensure strict adherence to established codes of conduct; offenders may be detained indefinitely; foreigners are not excluded
Mounties, RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
the federal police force of Canada
New Scotland Yard, Scotland Yard
the detective department of the metropolitan police force of London
shore patrol
the military police of the navy
secret police
a police force that operates in secrecy (usually against persons suspected of treason or sedition)
SS, Schutzstaffel
special police force in Nazi Germany founded as a personal bodyguard for Adolf Hitler in 1925; the SS administered the concentration camps
complement, full complement
number needed to make up a whole force
border patrol
a group of officers who patrol the borders of a country
harbor patrol
patrol of officers who police a harbor area
office, office staff
professional or clerical workers in an office
research staff
a group of associated research workers in a university or library or laboratory
sales staff
those in a business who are responsible for sales
security staff
those in an organization responsible for preventing spying or theft
maintenance staff, service staff
those in a business responsible for maintaining the physical plant
friendly
troops belonging to or allied with your own military forces
hostile
troops belonging to the enemy's military forces
cavalry, horse, horse cavalry
troops trained to fight on horseback
garrison
the troops who maintain and guard a fortified place
general staff
military officers assigned to assist a senior officer in planning military policy
headquarters staff
military staff stationed at headquarters
posse, posse comitatus
a temporary police force
Type of:
organisation, organization
a group of people who work together

n a unit that is part of some military service

“he sent Caesar a force of six thousand men”
Synonyms:
military force, military group, military unit
Types:
show 59 types...
hide 59 types...
trip wire
a small military force that serves as a first line of defense; if they become engaged in hostilities it will trigger the intervention of stronger military forces
command
a military unit or region under the control of a single officer
enemy
an opposing military force
task force
a temporary military unit formed to accomplish a particular objective
army unit
a military unit that is part of an army
naval unit
a military unit that is part of a navy
air unit
a military unit that is part of the airforce
armor, armour
a military unit consisting of armored fighting vehicles
mujahadeen, mujahadein, mujahadin, mujahedeen, mujahedin, mujahideen, mujahidin
a military force of Muslim guerilla warriors engaged in a jihad
guard
a military unit serving to protect some place or person
legion
a large military unit
echelon
a body of troops arranged in a line
phalanx
a body of troops in close array
Republican Guard
formerly Iraq's elite military unit whose primary role was to protect the government in Baghdad
Haganah
the clandestine military wing of the Jewish leadership during the British rule over the mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948; became the basis for the Israeli defense force
IDF, Israeli Defense Force
the ground and air and naval forces of Israel
militia, reserves
civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army
commando
an amphibious military unit trained for raids into enemy territory
contingent, detail
a temporary military unit
headquarters
(plural) a military unit consisting of a commander and the headquarters staff
spearhead
the leading military unit in an attack
ACLANT, Allied Command Atlantic
a major strategic headquarters of NATO located in the United States; is under the authority of the North Atlantic Council
ACE, Allied Command Europe
a major strategic headquarters of NATO; safeguards an area extending from Norway to Turkey
ACC, Air Combat Command
a command that is the primary provider of air combat weapon systems to the United States Air Force; operates fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, battle-management, and rescue aircraft
AFSPC, Air Force Space Command
a command of the United States Air Force that is responsible for defending the United States through its space and intercontinental ballistic missile operations
Mujahedeen Khalq
Iranian guerillas based in Iraq
SA, Storm Troops, Sturmabteilung
Nazi militia created by Hitler in 1921 that helped him to power but was eclipsed by the SS after 1943
army corps, corps
an army unit usually consisting of two or more divisions and their support
division
an army unit large enough to sustain combat
battle group
an army unit usually consisting of five companies
regiment
army unit smaller than a division
brigade
army unit smaller than a division
battalion
an army unit usually consisting of a headquarters and three or more companies
company
small military unit; usually two or three platoons
platoon
a military unit that is a subdivision of a company; usually has a headquarters and two or more squads; usually commanded by a lieutenant
detachment
a small unit of troops of special composition
van, vanguard
the leading units moving at the head of an army
bodyguard
a group of men who escort and protect some important person
section
a small army unit usually having a special function
squad
the smallest army unit
division, naval division
a group of ships of similar type
air division, division
a unit of the United States Air Force usually comprising two or more wings
wing
a unit of military aircraft
air group
a unit of the United States Air Force larger than a squadron and smaller than a wing
squadron
an air force unit larger than a flight and smaller than a group
squadron
a naval unit that is detached from the fleet for a particular task
flight
an air force unit smaller than a squadron
foreign legion
a military unit composed of foreign volunteers who serve the state
troop
a group of soldiers
troop
a cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company
trainband
a company of militia in England or America from the 16th century to the 18th century
Sayeret Mat'kal, Sayeret Matkal, sayeret
Israel's elite secret commando unit responsible for counterterrorist and top secret intelligence gathering and hostage rescue missions
SAS, Special Air Service
a specialist regiment of the British army that is trained in commando techniques of warfare and used in clandestine operations (especially against terrorist groups)
artillery, artillery unit
an army unit that uses big guns
musketry
musketeers and their muskets collectively
cavalry
a highly mobile army unit
foot, infantry
an army unit consisting of soldiers who fight on foot
home guard
a volunteer unit formed to defend the homeland while the regular army is fighting elsewhere
territorial, territorial reserve
a territorial military unit
Type of:
social unit, unit
an organization regarded as part of a larger social group
3

n a putout of a base runner who is required to run; the putout is accomplished by holding the ball while touching the base to which the runner must advance before the runner reaches that base

“the shortstop got the runner at second on a force
Synonyms:
force out, force play, force-out
Type of:
putout
an out resulting from a fielding play (not a strikeout)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.