|Origin:||Latin fortis 'strong'|
force1 S3 W1
a) [countable usually plural]
a group of people who have been trained to do military work for a government or other organization
government/military/defence etc forces
The riots were suppressed by government forces.
He strengthened US forces in the Gulf.
a plan to disarm the rebel forces (=those fighting against the government)
b) PM British English
the army, navy, and air force
in the forces
Both her sons are in the forces.
c)➔ air force, armed forces, ground forces
nuclear weapons or ordinary weapons:
short-range nuclear forces
; ➔ peacekeeping forceat peacekeeping
; ➔ security forcesat security (1), task force (2)
military action used as a way of achieving your aims:
Peace cannot be imposed by force.
The UN will allow the use of force against aircraft violating the zone.
violent physical action used to get what you want:
The police used force to overpower the demonstrators.
In the end he had to be thrown out of the house by force.
They kicked the door down using sheer brute force.
the amount of physical power with which something moves or hits another thing [↪ strength]
The force of the explosion blew out all the windows.
with great/considerable/increasing etc force
He raised his hand and struck her with terrifying force.
a natural power or event:
natural power[uncountable and countable]
the force of gravity
powerful natural forces such as earthquakes, floods, and drought
the forces of nature
a group of people who have been trained and organized to do a particular job: ➔ police force
organized group[countable usually singular]
the company's sales force
the quality of the teaching force
something or someone who is powerful and has a lot of influence on the way things happen ➔ market forces
the driving force (behind something/somebody) (=the person or thing that makes something happen)
Betty Coward was the driving force behind the project.
a force for change/peace/democracy etc (=someone or something that makes change, peace etc more likely to happen)
Healthy competition is a force for innovation.
He's a quick and decisive player - a force to be reckoned with (=a person, team, company etc that influences what happens).
The fall in prices was due to forces beyond their control.
the powerful effect that something has on you:
Even after 30 years, the play has lost none of its force.
the force of his personality
to work together so that you can deal with a problem, be more powerful etc
join forces to do something
Local schools have joined forces with each other to share facilities.
if a law, rule etc is in force, it already exists:
The trade embargo has been in force for a year.
in a large group, especially in order to protest about something [= in large numbers]:
Villagers turned out in force to protest about the new road.
if a new law, rule, change etc comes or is brought into force, it starts to exist:
Parking restrictions in the town centre came into force last month.
because you have always done a particular thing and it is difficult to change:
I get up at 6 o'clock every day from force of habit.
13 British English
if something happens by force of circumstance, events outside your control make it happen
a unit for measuring the strength of the wind
extremely strong wind that does a lot of damage
a word meaning the police force, used especially by police officers
people or things that increase the amount of good or bad in the world:
the battle against the forces of evil