What is Force?

In Conjunction with the previous article, we are going to look to find the definition of force.

When looking at wordnick.com, it comes up with a huge list of definitions for force. For the sake of simplicity and formatting, every single definition will not be displayed on this page. Individuals should seek out the websites and webpages to get the most information on the different dictionary definitions.

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The capacity to do work or cause physical change; energy, strength, or active power: the force of an explosion.

  • n. Power made operative against resistance; exertion: use force in driving a nail.

  • n. The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain: a confession obtained by force.

  • n. Intellectual power or vigor, especially as conveyed in writing or speech.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anything that is able to make a big change in a person or thing.

  • n. A physical quantity that denotes ability to push, pull, twist or accelerate a body which is measured in a unit dimensioned in mass × distance/time² (ML/T²): SI: newton (N); CGS: dyne (dyn)

  • n. A group that aims to attack, control, or constrain.

  • n. The ability to attack, control, or constrain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To stuff; to lard; to farce.

  • n. A waterfall; a cascade.

  • n. 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 energy; especially, power to persuade, or convince, or impose obligation; pertinency; validity; special signification.

  • n. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; violence; coercion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In general, strength, physical or mental, material or spiritual; active power; vigor; might.

  • n. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; coercion; violence; especially, violence to person or property.

  • n. Moral power to convince the mind; power to act as a motive or a reason; convincing power: as, the force of an argument.

  • n. Power to bind or hold, as of a law, agreement, or contract.

  • n. Value; significance; meaning; import: as, I do not see the force of your remark.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a unit that is part of some military service

  • v. cause to move by pulling

  • v. take by force

  • v. impose urgently, importunately, or inexorably

  • v. to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means :

We also have our old paper dictionary definitions…


The Dictionary for Children:

1. Power or Strength

2. The use of power or strength against a person or thing.

3. A group of people who work together.

4. Something that moves a body or stops or changes its motion.

5. To make do something.

6. To break open.

World Book Dictionary:

1. Strength; power

2. strength used against a person or thing: violence

3. the power to control, influence, persuade, convince, etc; effectiveness; vividness

4. a group of people working or acting together

5. a group of soldiers, sailors, policemen, etc.

6. physics. a. the cause that produces, changes, or stops the motion of a body

Websters Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary:

1. a. strength or energy exerted or brought to bear: cause of motion or change

b. Moral or mental strength


1. to do violence to

2. to compel by physical, moral, or intellectual means : coerce

New Dictionary of the English Language:

active power; vigor; strength; energy; violence; power to persuade or convince; validity; legality; efficacy; meaning; troops; armament; a trained or organized body; unlawful violence to property or person; any cause that produces or tends to produce motion, or a change of potion, in a body; a waterfall.

Seems all of the dictionaries have commonalities with the definition of force. Each appears to indicate that force is a synonym to violence.

It can also be noted that force is not always physical. There is moral and intellectual force. Which is consistent with the definition of violence. This further supports the idea that, whether it is guns or writing on paper, government commits violence against the people.

Two dictionaries include the idea that force can be defined as unlawful violence. Wicktionary says:

  • n. Either unlawful violence, as in a “forced entry”, or lawful compulsion.

What is compulsion or to compel?

These terms may need to be defined to help more fully understand what is violence.

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