1 physical strength, power or violence
ADJ. considerable, great, terrible, tremendous | full, maximum | brute, sheer | reasonable | sufficient | excessive | unlawful | deadly, lethal | explosive | physical | gale The wind was increasing to gale force.
VERB + FORCE resort to, use In the end, we had to resort to brute force to get the door open. | take sth by The troops marched in and took the city by force. | feel Even the opposition MPs felt the force of the prime minister's argument.
PREP. by ~ The king made laws and imposed them by force.
PHRASES catch/experience/feel/meet/take the full force of sth Our shop took the full force of the bomb blast. I felt the full force of her criticism. | meet force with force The country's attempts to meet force with force (= resist an attack using force) led to the outbreak of war. | the use of force The regulations allow the use of force if necessary.
2 effect that causes sth to move
ADJ. powerful, strong | weak | attractive | repulsive | balanced | external, internal Deep internal forces cause movements of the earth's crust. | lateral | centrifugal, centripetal, electromagnetic, electromotive, gravitational, mechanical, nuclear, tidal
VERB + FORCE exert The sun exerts a force on the earth. | increase | decrease | balance The forces of expansion are balanced by forces of contraction.
FORCE + VERB balance sth
FORCE + NOUN field the force field of a magnet (figurative) It was as if an invisible force field kept us apart.
PREP. ~ between the attractive and repulsive forces between individual particles
PHRASES a balance of forces the balance of nuclear forces in atoms | the force of gravity3 authority of sth
ADJ. binding, legal, statutory The contract was not signed and has no binding force.
VERB + FORCE come into The new law comes into force as from midnight tomorrow. | bring sth into
PREP. in ~ Some laws relating to obsolete customs are still in force.
PHRASES the force of law Professional standards often do not have the force of law (= cannot be enforced).
4 sb/sth with power/influence
ADJ. considerable, formidable, great, irresistible, major, overwhelming, potent, powerful, significant, strong | active, controlling, dominant, driving, moving | motivating | persuasive | constructive, creative, dynamic, positive, progressive | destructive, disruptive, negative, subversive She was seen as a potentially subversive force within the party. | cohesive, unifying | competitive, conflicting, countervailing, reactionary | internal | external, international, outside The play portrays a marriage torn apart by external forces. | natural powerful natural forces such as earthquakes and drought | spiritual, supernatural | dark, demonic, evil, malevolent ‘There are dark forces in the universe,’ he raved, ‘and we are powerless against them!’ | cultural, economic, intellectual, market, moral, political, productive, revolutionary, social powerful social and economic forces
VERB + FORCE remain Though officially retired, she remains the creative force behind the design business. | balance This is a politician who does not like to balance market forces.
PREP. ~ behind Local parents were the driving force behind the project. | ~ for Competition is a force for change in industry.
PHRASES a balance of forces shifts in the balance of political forces in Europe | a force to be reckoned with With its new players, the team is now very much a force to be reckoned with.
5 group of people trained for a particular purpose
ADJ. large | small, token a token force of only 300 men | 100-strong, etc. | crack, elite, special These elite forces are the best equipped and trained in the world. | combined, joint the combined forces of MI5 and Scotland Yard a joint task force | allied, coalition, multinational | strategic | labour, sales a company's labour force the country's labour force | armed, military, paramilitary | government, loyal | enemy, guerrilla, hostile, occupying, opposition, rebel | regular | reserve | volunteer | conventional | nuclear | assault, defence, expeditionary, fighting, invasion, peace, peacekeeping, police, security, strike (See also task force.) | air, airborne, amphibious, ground, land, naval
VERB + FORCE assemble, create, form, mobilize, set up A large expeditionary force is now being assembled. | send the decision to send armed forces over the border | deploy, use A small peacekeeping force will be deployed in the area. | withdraw | demobilize | command, head (up), lead | join She decided to join the armed forces. | combine, join The two companies have joined forces to form a new consortium.
FORCE + VERB control sth Rebel forces now control most of the capital.
PREP. in a/the ~ people in the security forces
PHRASES a member of a force, the withdrawal of a force a UN deadline for the withdrawal of forces