force


force
force n
1 *power, energy, strength, might, puissance
Analogous words: *stress, strain, pressure, tension: *speed, velocity, momentum, impetus, headway
2 Force, violence, compulsion, coercion, duress, constraint, restraint denote the exercise or the exertion of power in order to impose one's will on a person or to have one's will with a thing. Force and violence ordinarily apply to physical powers used upon either persons or things; compulsion, coercion, duress, constraint, restraint apply to either physical or moral power used upon personal agents except in certain figurative uses— compulsion, coercion, and duress usually implying exercise of such power upon others than oneself, constraint or restraint upon oneself or others.
Force (see also POWER 1) applies to an exercise of physical strength or of power comparable to physical strength by means of which an agent imposes his will upon another against that person's will or causes a thing to move as desired in spite of its resistance
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rude fishermen . . . by force took Dromio— Shak.

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to work in close design, by fraud or guile, what force effected not— Milton

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move a huge boulder by main force

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the skeptical criticism that "justice" is merely another name for forceDickinsony

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force used by attendants in an asylum . . . force used by the police when they control a crowd . . . force used in war— Huxley

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Violence is often used in place of force, then commonly implying a greater display of power or fury and often connoting the infliction of injury or cruelty
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they will by violence tear him from your palace— Shak.

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the rest of the party kept off the crowd by mingled persuasion and violenceShawy

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Violence often implies a violation of another's legal rights or property, or it may imply a corruption or abuse of someone or something entitled to respect, observance, or security
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a burglar in entering a house by forcing a door enters it by violence

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do violence to no man— Lk 3:14

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all these many and varied powers had been acquired without doing violence to republican sentiment— Buchan

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the phrase "every common carrier engaged in trade or commerce" may be construed to mean "while engaged in trade or commerce" without violence to the habits of English speech— Justice Holmes

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Compulsion and, still more, coercion imply the application of physical force or of moral pressure or the exercise of one's authority in order to control the action of a voluntary agent and to make him obedient to one's will
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I would give no man a reason upon compulsionShak.

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coercion by threat or intimidation

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masterpieces I read under compulsion without the faintest interest— Russell

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solutions forced upon a most practical mind by the stern compulsion of facts— Buchan

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in the submissive way of one long accustomed to obey under coercionDickens

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some form of coercion, overt or covert, which encroaches upon the natural freedom of individuals— Dewey

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Duress implies compulsion to do or forbear some act by means that are illegal (as by imprisonment or threats to imprison or by violence)
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a person is not guilty of duress when he does or threatens to do something he has a legal right to do— Fisk & Snapp

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It may also imply compulsion or coercion through fear of a penalty that will or may be exacted
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a false declaration of love by the heroine under duressDyneley Hussey

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we must eliminate the condition of economic duress under which so many human beings are unjustly forced to live— Ashley Montagu

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Constraint and restraint may imply the exercise of physical or moral power either by an active agent or by the force of circumstances; constraint sometimes implies an urging or driving to action but more frequently implies its forcible restriction or confinement, whereas restraint suggests its actual hindrance or curbing
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the . . . lion . . . roared with sharp constraint of hunger— Shak.

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prose is memorable speech set down without the constraint of meter— Quiller-Couch

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absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible only to himself— Henry Adams

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the emotion . . . was the deeper and the sweeter for the restraint that he had put upon himself— Archibald Marshall

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Analogous words: intensity, vehemence, fierceness (see corresponding adjectives at INTENSE): *effort, exertion, pains, trouble
force vb Force, compel, coerce, constrain, oblige are comparable when meaning to make a person or thing yield to the will of a person or to the strength or power of a thing.
Force, the ordinary and most general word in this group, implies the exertion of strength, typically physical strength, or the working of something (as circumstances or logical necessity) analogous in moving power or effectiveness to such strength
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force slaves to labor

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force food upon a child

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he said hunger forced him to steal the food

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his conscience forced him into repaying what he had stolen

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force himself to smile

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the man could not be forced from the position he had taken

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Sometimes the term takes a simple object, naming the person forced or the thing brought about by force; in such cases the verb often carries additional implications acquired from its idiomatic use in a particular phrase; thus, to force a woman is to rape her; to force a door is to break it open; to force laughter or a smile or tears is to make oneself laugh or smile or cry against one's will; to force bulbs is to hasten their development by artificial means
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forced language

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a forced style

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Compel differs from force chiefly in typically requiring a personal object; any other type of object such as a reaction or response is possible only in extended or poetic language when the specific connotations of compel (as the exertion of irresistible power or force or a victory over resistance) are to be carried by the verb
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she always compels admiration

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an argument that compels assent

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or a concrete thing
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such a breeze compelled thy canvas— Tennysony

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Compel commonly implies the exercise of authority, the exertion of great effort or driving force, or the impossibility for one reason or another of doing anything else
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[they] submit because they are compelled; but they would resist, and finally resist effectively, if they were not cowards— Shaw

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we see nothing in the Constitution that compels the Government to sit by while a food supply is cut off and the protectors of our forest and our crops are destroyed— Justice Holmes

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there is no possible method of compelling a child to feel sympathy or affection— Russell

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the westering sun at length compelled me to quit the wood— Hudson

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Coerce suggests more severity in the methods employed than compel does; commonly it connotes the exertion of violence or duress or the use of threats or intimidation
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there are more ways of coercing a man than by pointing a gun at his head— Inge

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Charles the First signed his own death warrant when he undertook to coerce that stubborn will [of Londoners]— Repplier

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Constrain stresses more than does compel, its closest synonym, the force exerted by what presses or binds; it usually suggests the influence of restrictions, self-imposed or placed upon one by force, by nature, by necessity, or by circumstances, that compel one to do a stated or implied thing, live a stated or implied way, or think certain thoughts
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I describe everything exactly as it took place, constraining my mind not to wander from the task— Dickens

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causes which he loathed in his heart but which he was constrained to consider just— Brooks

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tied him to the wall, where he was constrained to stay till a kind passerby released him— Galsworthy

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Oblige usually implies the constraint of necessity, sometimes physical necessity
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a sharp pain obliged him to close his eyelids quickly— Hardy

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but equally often moral or intellectual necessity
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he is obliged, in conscience, to undo the harm he has done to a man's good name

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even the so-called laws of nature are only instruments to be used ... we are not obliged to believe them— Inge

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The term also is used with reference to a person or thing which is regarded as authoritative or as having the right to determine one's course or acts
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the discipline of their great School . . . obliges them to bring up a weekly essay to their tutor— Quiller-Couch

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the convention which obliged a satirist to be scathing— Inge

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she is obliged to learn by heart a multitude of songs— Heam

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Analogous words: impel, drive, *move: *command, order, enjoin: exact, *demand, require

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • force — [ fɔrs ] n. f. • 1080; bas lat. fortia, plur. neutre substantivé de fortis → 1. fort; forcer I ♦ La force de qqn. 1 ♦ Puissance d action physique (d un être, d un organe). Force physique; force musculaire. ⇒ résistance, robustesse, vigueur. Force …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • forcé — force [ fɔrs ] n. f. • 1080; bas lat. fortia, plur. neutre substantivé de fortis → 1. fort; forcer I ♦ La force de qqn. 1 ♦ Puissance d action physique (d un être, d un organe). Force physique; force musculaire. ⇒ résistance, robustesse, vigueur …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • force — 1 n 1: a cause of motion, activity, or change intervening force: a force that acts after another s negligent act or omission has occurred and that causes injury to another: intervening cause at cause irresistible force: an unforeseeable event esp …   Law dictionary

  • force — Force, Vis, Neruositas, Fortitudo, Virtus. Il se prend quelquesfois pour le dessus d une entreprinse ou affaire, comme, Il combatit si vaillamment que la force fut sienne, c est à dire, que le dessus du combat et la victoire fut à luy. Item,… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • force — Force. subst. fem. Vigueur, faculté naturelle d agir vigoureusement. Il se dit proprement du corps. Force naturelle. grande force. force extraordinaire. force de corps. force de bras, la force consiste dans les nerfs. frapper de toute sa force, y …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Force — Force, n. [F. force, LL. forcia, fortia, fr. L. fortis strong. See {Fort}, n.] 1. Capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect; strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigor; might; often, an unusual degree of strength or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • forcé — forcé, ée (for sé, sée) part. passé de forcer. 1°   À quoi on a fait violence, qu on a tordu, brisé avec violence. Un coffre forcé. Une serrure forcée. •   Ils [les Juifs] répandirent dans le monde que le sépulcre [de Jésus] avait été forcé ;… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • force — [fôrs, fōrs] n. [ME < OFr < VL * fortia, * forcia < L fortis, strong: see FORT1] 1. strength; energy; vigor; power 2. the intensity of power; impetus [the force of a blow] 3. a) physical power or strength exerted against a person or… …   English World dictionary

  • Force — Force, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Forced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Forcing}.] [OF. forcier, F. forcer, fr. LL. forciare, fortiare. See {Force}, n.] 1. To constrain to do or to forbear, by the exertion of a power not resistible; to compel by physical, moral,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • force — ► NOUN 1) physical strength or energy as an attribute of action or movement. 2) Physics an influence tending to change the motion of a body or produce motion or stress in a stationary body. 3) coercion backed by the use or threat of violence. 4)… …   English terms dictionary


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