• Four types of force are encountered in the universe. The strong force which binds atomic nuclei together and the weak force, encountered in particle physics, are the least familiar, while the other two, electromagnetic and gravitational forces, are also encountered in everyday life. These four forces appear to account for all the interactions of matter which we know about. A force was defined by Newton as anything which alters a body’s state of rest or uniform motion, a definition which he used mainly to describe the operation of gravitation in the solar system. The strong force is expressed by a variety of particles called Quarks and is some hundred times as powerful as the electromagnetic forces, which govern chemical reactions and the emission of electromagnetic radiation. They in turn are some 100 billion times as strong as the weak force, which is itself 100 trillion trillion times as strong as gravitation. This is why a minute pocket magnet can hold a lump of iron in mid-air, defying the whole of the Earth’s gravitation.


  • noun the capacity to do work or cause physical change
  • noun power used against a resistance
  • noun a vector quantity that produces an acceleration of a body in the direction of its application
  • verb to use power against resistance


  • noun a group of people
  • verb to make someone do something

Cars & Driving

  • noun any push or pull exerted on an object, measured in newtons (N) in the SI (international system of units), although usage of the superseded units based on feet, pounds and ounces is still frequent


  • noun a forcing shot
    Citation ‘The force can also be played to the short of a length ball just outside the leg stump which cannot be hooked or pulled’ (Wayne Larkins, Cricketer September 1984)
  • verb to hit the ball when playing a forcing shot
    Citation ‘Some of his straight drives off Bedser with a sudden bend of the knees, forcing the ball off a good length with very little back lift and with immense wrist strength, were breathtaking’ (Manley 1988)


  • An influence on a body that can modify its movement, or deform it. For example, if such an influence is applied to a free body, said body would be accelerated. Through the application of a force, work is done. Its symbol is F, and its SI unit is the newton.
  • Any of the four fundamental forces of nature.
  • In computers, to manually intervene in a process, to effect action that would not ordinarily occur.
  • symbolF


  • noun an unspecified military grouping
  • verb to achieve something with the use of strength or great effort


  • symbol the hexadecimal number equivalent to decimal number 15

General English

  • noun the sixth letter of the alphabet, between E and G

General Science

  • prefix one thousandth of a million millionth (10-15).

Origin & History of “force”

The ultimate source of force is Latin fortis ‘strong’, which also gave English comfort, effort, fort, etc. In post-classical times a noun was formed from it, *fortia ‘strength’, which passed into English via Old French force. (The force of forcemeat (17th c.), incidentally, is a variant of farce, in its original sense ‘stuff’, and is not etymologically related to force ‘strength’.).