Legal Definition and Related Resources of Force

Meaning of Force

power in motion or action ; strength directed to an end; used as synonymous with violence in the context of assault . A person may use as much force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime , or in the affecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or persons unlawfully at large .

Force Alternative Definition

Restraining power; validity; binding effect. A law may be said to be in force when it is not repealed, or, more loosely, when it can be carried into practical effect. An iigreement is in force when the parties to it may be compelled to act, or are acting, under its terms and stipulations. Strength applied; active power; power put in motion. Actual force is where strength is actually applied, or the means of applying it are at hand. The display of power to injure sufficient to put in bodily fear is force. 5 Blatchf. (U. S.) 18; 2 Whart. Crim. Law, 1698. Implied force is that which is implied by law from the commission of an unlawful act. Every trespass quare elausum fregit is committed with implied force. 1 Salk. 641; Co. Litt. 57b, 161b, 162a; 1 Saund. 81, 140, note 4; 5 Term R. 361; 8 Term R. 78, 358; Bac. Abr. “Trespass;” 3 Wils. 18; Fitzh. Nat. Brev. 890; 6 East, 387; 5 Bos. & P. 365, 454. Mere nonfeasance cannot be considered as force, generally. 2 Saund. 47; Co. Litt. 161; Bouv. Inst. Index.

Synonyms of Force

(Break), verb

  • batter
  • breach
  • crack
  • disjoint
  • fissure
  • inrumpere
  • invade
  • pry
  • rend
  • rive
  • rupture
  • shatter
  • smash
  • split
  • strain
  • tear asunder
  • wrench

(Coerce), verb

  • apply pressure
  • cause to yield
  • command
  • compel
  • constrain
  • control
  • demand
  • enforce
  • enforce obedience
  • enjoin
  • enslave
  • enthrall
  • exercise power over
  • exprimere
  • extorquere
  • extort
  • impose
  • insist
  • make obligatory
  • necessitate
  • obligate
  • oblige
  • order
  • overpower
  • overwhelm
  • press
  • push
  • put under obligation
  • require
  • tax
  • urge
  • use violence

(Compulsion), noun

  • arbitrary power
  • authority
  • coaction
  • coercion
  • command
  • compulsion
  • constraining power
  • constraint
  • constriction
  • control
  • demand
  • dictation
  • discipline
  • drive
  • duress
  • enforcement
  • exaction
  • impelling
  • imposition
  • impressment
  • inducement
  • insistence
  • martial law
  • necessitation
  • necessitude
  • necessity
  • need
  • oppression
  • persuasion
  • pressure
  • prevailing
  • repression
  • restraint
  • restriction
  • sanction
  • spur of necessity
  • stress
  • strict control
  • subjection
  • subjugation
  • urgency
  • vehemence
  • Associated Concepts: ejectment by force
  • forced merger
  • forced payment
  • forced sale fokigv phusls: I is legibus est inimica
  • Force is inimiQuod alias bonum et justum est
  • siper vim : t
  • raudtm betatur
  • malum et injustum efficitur
  • What iherwise is good and just
  • becomes bacfand unjust if sought bv force and fraud
  • Non videturvimfacere
  • qui jure uo utitur et ordinariaactione experitur
  • We is not : r
  • s
  • dered to use force who exercises his own right
  • 2nd proceeds by ordinary action
  • Ejus nulla culpa est
  • cuiparere necessesit
  • No guilt attaches to a person who :> compelled to obey
  • Nihilconsensui tam contrariumest quamvisatquemetus
  • Nothing is so opposed to consent as force and fear

(Legal efficacy), noun

  • authorized might
  • lawful power
  • lawful vigor
  • legal vitality
  • legitimate puissance
  • rightful strength
  • sanctioned effectiveness
  • sanctioned potency
  • statutory cogency
  • valid potentiality

(Strength), noun

  • ability
  • ableness
  • ascendancy
  • authoritativeness
  • brawn
  • capability
  • cogency
  • command
  • competence
  • consequence
  • control
  • domination
  • dominion
  • effectiveness
  • effectuality
  • efficacy
  • empowerment
  • enablement
  • endurance
  • energy
  • firmness
  • forcefulness
  • hardiness
  • impact
  • impetus
  • importance
  • influence
  • influentiality
  • intensity
  • manus
  • mastery
  • might
  • mightiness
  • omnipotence
  • physical power
  • potence
  • potency
  • power
  • powerfulness
  • predominance
  • pressure
  • primacy
  • proficiency
  • stamina
  • supremacy
  • sway
  • vigor
  • vigorousness
  • virulence
  • vis
  • vitality Associated Concepts: armed force
  • constructive force
  • excessive force
  • intervening force
  • physical force
  • superior force
  • threats of force
  • unnecessary force
  • unreasonable forceforeign phrases: Vim vi repellere licet
  • modofiat moderamine inculpatae tutelae
  • non ad sumendam vindictam
  • sed adpropulsandam injuriam
  • It is lawful to repel force by force
  • provided it be done with the moderation of blameless defense
  • not for the purpose of taking revenge
  • but to repel injury

Related Entries of Force in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Force in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Force in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Force in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Force in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Assault, Battery, By Virtue Of, Cadet, Campbell’s Act, Coercion, Combination, Combines, Compel, Compelled, , Currency, Custom, Directory, Discharge, Electrocution, Enforce, Equivalent, Forcible Entry, Imperative, Imprisonment, Invalid, Judicial Separation, Kidnap, Letter, Machine, Machinery, Manual Labor, Material Fact, Militia, Narcotics, Nullity, Operate, Racketeering, , Ravish, Rebellion, Regulation, Revolution, Ruling, Sabotage, Self-defense, Smith Act.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Force in the Dictionary Force in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Force
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Force in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Force is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Force (more about URIs)

Force in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of force.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Work
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading



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