Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

force - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] force pronunciation in American English /fɔrs/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleforcing
past tenseforced
past participleforced
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to make someone do something that they do not want to do, for example by using or threatening to use violence
    force someone to do something:

    He claims that police officers forced him to sign a confession.

    Three judges have been forced to resign because of corruption scandals.

    force yourself to do something:

    Despite the pain, she forced herself to get out of bed.

    force someone into doing something:

    You can’t force him into going out with you.

    force someone into/out of something:

    Two men forced him into the back of the van.

    1. a.
      if an event or situation forces you to do something, you have to do it even if you do not want to
      force someone to do something:

      Bad health forced her to abandon her studies.

      force someone into/out of something:

      Lack of skills forces these young men into low-paid jobs.

  2. 2
    to use physical force to move something in a particular direction
    force something through/into/out of something:

    She forced the package through the slot.

    Use a strong jet of water to force blockages out of the pipe.

    1. a.
      to use physical force to open something that is locked

      Police say the back window has been forced.

      force something open:

      We had to force the door open.

      force a lock (=break it):

      If she doesn’t have a key, we’ll have to force the lock.

    2. b.
      to use physical strength to move somewhere by pushing people or things away
      force your way through/into something:

      She had to force her way through the crowd.

  3. 4
    to make a plant grow faster than it would normally, for example by giving it extra heat or light
    Synonyms and related words


used to describe something which is done more carefully and over a longer period of time …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the practice of giving birth in the presence of several friends and relatives

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play