1. [syn: life force, vital force, vitality, elan vital]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Force \Force\, n. [F. force, LL. forcia, fortia, fr. L. fortis
strong. See Fort, n.]
1. 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; as, the force of an appeal, an argument, a
contract, or a term.
He was, in the full force of the words, a good man.
2. Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power;
violence; coercion; as, by force of arms; to take by
Which now they hold by force, and not by right.
3. Strength or power for war; hence, a body of land or naval
combatants, with their appurtenances, ready for action; --
an armament; troops; warlike array; -- often in the
plural; hence, a body of men prepared for action in other
ways; as, the laboring force of a plantation; the armed
Is Lucius general of the forces? --Shak.
(a) Strength or power exercised without law, or contrary
to law, upon persons or things; violence.
(b) Validity; efficacy. --Burrill.
5. (Physics) Any action between two bodies which changes, or
tends to change, their relative condition as to rest or
motion; or, more generally, which changes, or tends to
change, any physical relation between them, whether
mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, magnetic, or of
any other kind; as, the force of gravity; cohesive force;
Animal force (Physiol.), muscular force or energy.
Catabiotic force [Gr. ? down (intens.) + ? life.] (Biol.),
the influence exerted by living structures on adjoining
cells, by which the latter are developed in harmony with
the primary structures.
Centrifugal force, Centripetal force, Coercive force,
etc. See under Centrifugal, Centripetal, etc.
Composition of forces, Correlation of forces, etc. See
under Composition, Correlation, etc.
Force and arms [trans. of L. vi et armis] (Law), an
expression in old indictments, signifying violence.
In force, or Of force, of unimpaired efficacy; valid; of
full virtue; not suspended or reversed. "A testament is of
force after men are dead." --Heb. ix. 17.
Metabolic force (Physiol.), the influence which causes and
controls the metabolism of the body.
No force, no matter of urgency or consequence; no account;
hence, to do no force, to make no account of; not to heed.
Of force, of necessity; unavoidably; imperatively. "Good
reasons must, of force, give place to better." --Shak.
Plastic force (Physiol.), the force which presumably acts
in the growth and repair of the tissues.
Vital force (Physiol.), that force or power which is
inherent in organization; that form of energy which is the
cause of the vital phenomena of the body, as distinguished
from the physical forces generally known.
Syn: Strength; vigor; might; energy; stress; vehemence;
violence; compulsion; coaction; constraint; coercion.
Usage: Force, Strength. Strength looks rather to power as
an inward capability or energy. Thus we speak of the
strength of timber, bodily strength, mental strength,
strength of emotion, etc. Force, on the other hand,
looks more to the outward; as, the force of
gravitation, force of circumstances, force of habit,
etc. We do, indeed, speak of strength of will and
force of will; but even here the former may lean
toward the internal tenacity of purpose, and the
latter toward the outward expression of it in action.
But, though the two words do in a few cases touch thus
closely on each other, there is, on the whole, a
marked distinction in our use of force and strength.
"Force is the name given, in mechanical science, to
whatever produces, or can produce, motion." --Nichol.
Thy tears are of no force to mollify
This flinty man. --Heywood.
More huge in strength than wise in works he was.
Adam and first matron Eve
Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above, new hope to spring
Out of despair. --Milton.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Vital \Vi"tal\, a. [F., fr. L. vitalis, fr. vita life; akin to
vivere to live. See Vivid.]
1. Belonging or relating to life, either animal or vegetable;
as, vital energies; vital functions; vital actions.
2. Contributing to life; necessary to, or supporting, life;
as, vital blood.
Do the heavens afford him vital food? --Spenser.
And vital virtue infused, and vital warmth.
3. Containing life; living. "Spirits that live throughout,
vital in every part." --Milton.
4. Being the seat of life; being that on which life depends;
The dart flew on, and pierced a vital part. --Pope.
5. Very necessary; highly important; essential.
A competence is vital to content. --Young.
6. Capable of living; in a state to live; viable. [R.]
Pythagoras and Hippocrates . . . affirm the birth of
the seventh month to be vital. --Sir T.
Vital air, oxygen gas; -- so called because essential to
animal life. [Obs.]
Vital capacity (Physiol.), the breathing capacity of the
lungs; -- expressed by the number of cubic inches of air
which can be forcibly exhaled after a full inspiration.
Vital force. (Biol.) See under Force. The vital forces,
according to Cope, are nerve force (neurism), growth force
(bathmism), and thought force (phrenism), all under the
direction and control of the vital principle. Apart from
the phenomena of consciousness, vital actions no longer
need to be considered as of a mysterious and unfathomable
character, nor vital force as anything other than a form
of physical energy derived from, and convertible into,
other well-known forces of nature.
Vital functions (Physiol.), those functions or actions of
the body on which life is directly dependent, as the
circulation of the blood, digestion, etc.
Vital principle, an immaterial force, to which the
functions peculiar to living beings are ascribed.
Vital statistics, statistics respecting the duration of
life, and the circumstances affecting its duration.
Vital tripod. (Physiol.) See under Tripod.
Vital vessels (Bot.), a name for latex tubes, now disused.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: (biology) a hypothetical force (not physical or chemical)
once thought by Henri Bergson to cause the evolution and
development of organisms [syn: life force, vital force,
vitality, elan vital]