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.

noun force pronunciation in British English /fɔː(r)s/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [uncountable] physical strength, or violence
    They accused the police of using excessive force during the arrest.
    by force: The army took control of the region by force.
    You can achieve more by persuasion than by brute force (=physical force alone).
    1. a.
      the power or energy produced by one thing hitting another
      His body swung round with the force of the blow.
      The office block took the full force of the blast.
  2. 2
    [uncountable] the influence or powerful effect that someone has
    We have convinced people by the force of our argument.
    force of personality: He persuaded them to re-elect him by sheer force of personality.
    1. a.
      [countable] someone or something that has a powerful influence on what happens
      the social and political forces that shape people’s lives
      For years he was a dominant force in Spanish politics.
      force for: The UN is a force for stability.
      The most obvious force for change in industry is technical advance.
      driving force (=the most important influence): She was certainly the driving force behind the campaign.
  3. 4
    [countable] a group of people doing military or police work
    Both countries have now withdrawn their forces from the area.
    a UN peacekeeping force
    1. b.

      the force

      informal the police
      Bill was a senior police officer, who joined the force back in 1982.
  4. 5

    the Forces

    [plural] British the army, navy, and air force of a country



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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