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Energy vs. Force: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on January 5, 2024
Energy is the capacity to do work or cause physical change; unit: Joules. Force is a push or pull upon an object resulting from its interaction with another object; unit: Newtons.
Energy vs. Force

Key Differences

Energy is a measure of a system's capacity to perform work or produce change, like kinetic or potential energy. Force, however, is an interaction that causes an object to accelerate or decelerate.
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Jan 05, 2024
Energy can be stored in various forms, such as chemical, thermal, or electrical. In contrast, Force is an immediate interaction, like gravity or friction, acting upon an object.
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Energy is conserved in a closed system, following the law of conservation of energy. On the other hand, Force can change an object's motion or shape but doesn't get conserved.
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Energy transfer does not require direct contact between objects, like in radiation. Conversely, Force often requires contact or a field, like magnetic or gravitational fields.
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In practical terms, Energy can be used to quantify the work done by or on an object. Force, however, describes how strongly an object is pushed or pulled.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Capacity to do work or cause change
Push or pull on an object
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Forms

Kinetic, potential, thermal, etc.
Gravitational, frictional, magnetic, etc.
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Conservation

Conserved in closed systems
Not conserved, but can change motion
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Measurement Unit

Joules (J)
Newtons (N)
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Interaction

Can be transferred without direct contact
Requires contact or a field
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Energy and Force Definitions

Energy

Represents the ability to perform work.
Wind turbines convert kinetic energy into electrical energy.
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Force

A push or pull on an object.
Magnetic force pulled the iron filings towards the magnet.
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Energy

Can be stored in various forms like potential energy.
The compressed spring has stored mechanical energy.
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Force

The attractive force between masses.
Gravity force keeps us anchored to the Earth.
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Energy

Refers to thermal energy in a system.
Geothermal plants harness the Earth's internal heat energy.
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Force

Resistance between surfaces in contact.
Frictional force slows down moving objects.
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Energy

Energy in the form of electric potential.
Batteries store electrical energy for later use.
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Force

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

The capacity for work or vigorous activity
Who has the energy to climb that trail?.
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Force

Power made operative against resistance; exertion
Use force in driving a nail.
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Energy

Also energies Exertion of vigor or power
A project requiring a great deal of time and energy.
Devoted her energies to writing songs.
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Force

The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain
A confession obtained by force.
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Energy

Vitality and intensity of expression
A speech delivered with energy and emotion.
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Force

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

(Informal) A nonphysical force or quality perceived as inhering in a particular place, person, or situation
Was turned off by the group's negative energy.
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Force

Moral strength.
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Energy

Usable heat or power
Each year Americans consume a high percentage of the world's energy.
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Force

A capacity for affecting the mind or behavior; efficacy
The force of logical argumentation.
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Energy

A source of usable power, such as petroleum or coal.
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Force

One that possesses such capacity
The forces of evil.
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Energy

The capacity of a physical system to do work.
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Force

A body of persons or other resources organized or available for a certain purpose
A large labor force.
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Energy

A form, amount, or level of this capacity
"a searing beam of 30 trillion protons, with energies up to 50 million electronvolts" (Science News).
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Force

A person or group capable of influential action
A retired senator who is still a force in national politics.
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Energy

The impetus behind all motion and all activity.
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Force

Military strength.
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Energy

The capacity to do work.
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Force

A unit of a nation's military personnel, especially one deployed into combat
Our armed forces have at last engaged the enemy.
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Energy

(physics) A quantity that denotes the ability to do work and is measured in a unit dimensioned in mass × distance²/time² (ML²/T²) or the equivalent.
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Force

A vector quantity indicating the strength and direction of the capacity to accelerate a body. Newton's second law of motion states that a free body accelerates in the direction of the net force and that its acceleration is directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to its mass.
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Energy

An intangible, modifiable force (often characterized as either 'positive' or 'negative') believed in some New Age religions to emanate from a person, place or thing and which is (or can be) preserved and transferred in human interactions; shared mood or group habit; a vibe, a feeling, an impression. aura.}}
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Force

See fundamental force.
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Energy

The external actions and influences resulting from an entity’s internal nature (ousia) and by which it is made manifest, as opposed to that internal nature itself; the aspect of an entity that can affect the wider world and be apprehended by other beings.
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Force

(Baseball) A force play.
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Energy

A measure of how many actions a player or unit can take; in the fantasy genre often called magic points or mana.
Action points
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Force

To compel through pressure or necessity
I forced myself to practice daily. He was forced to take a second job.
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Energy

Internal or inherent power; capacity of acting, operating, or producing an effect, whether exerted or not; as, men possessing energies may suffer them to lie inactive.
The great energies of nature are known to us only by their effects.
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Force

To gain by the use of force or coercion
Force a confession.
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Energy

Power efficiently and forcibly exerted; vigorous or effectual operation; as, the energy of a magistrate.
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Force

To move or effect against resistance or inertia
Forced my foot into the shoe.
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Energy

Strength of expression; force of utterance; power to impress the mind and arouse the feelings; life; spirit; - said of speech, language, words, style; as, a style full of energy.
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Force

To inflict or impose relentlessly
He forced his ideas upon the group.
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Energy

Capacity for performing work.
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Force

To put undue strain on
She forced her voice despite being hoarse.
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Energy

(physics) the capacity of a physical system to do work; the units of energy are joules or ergs;
Energy can take a wide variety of forms
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Force

To increase or accelerate (a pace, for example) to the maximum.
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Energy

An exertion of force;
He plays tennis with great energy
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Force

To produce with effort and against one's will
Force a laugh in spite of pain.
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Energy

Enterprising or ambitious drive;
Europeans often laugh at American energy
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Force

To use (language) with obvious lack of ease and naturalness.
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Energy

An imaginative lively style (especially style of writing);
His writing conveys great energy
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Force

To move, open, or clear by force
Forced our way through the crowd.
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Energy

A healthy capacity for vigorous activity;
Jogging works off my excess energy
He seemed full of vim and vigor
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Force

To break down or open by force
Force a lock.
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Energy

The federal department responsible for maintaining a national energy policy of the United States; created in 1977
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Force

To rape.
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Energy

Contained in the bonds of chemical compounds.
Gasoline has high chemical energy, which powers engines.
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Force

To induce change in (a complex system) by changing one of its parameters
Greenhouse gases that force the earth's climate.
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Force

(Botany) To cause to grow or mature by artificially accelerating normal processes.
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Force

To put (a runner) out on a force play.
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Force

To allow (a run) to be scored by walking a batter when the bases are loaded.
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Force

(Games) To cause an opponent to play (a particular card).
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Force

Strength or energy of body or mind; active power; vigour; might; capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect.
The force of an appeal, an argument, or a contract
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Force

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

(countable) Anything that is able to make a substantial change in a person or thing.
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Force

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

Something or anything that has the power to produce a physical effect upon something else, such as causing it to move or change shape.
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Force

(countable) A group that aims to attack, control, or constrain.
Reinforcemented increased the American force in the area to 9,000
Police force
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Force

(uncountable) The ability to attack, control, or constrain.
Show of force
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Force

(countable) A magic trick in which the outcome is known to the magician beforehand, especially one involving the apparent free choice of a card by another person.
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Force

(legal) Legal validity.
The law will come into force in January.
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Force

(legal) Either unlawful violence, as in a "forced entry", or lawful compulsion.
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Force

Ability of an utterance or its element (word, form, prosody, ...) to effect a given meaning.
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Force

|often|capitalized}}Star Wars A metaphysical and ubiquitous power from the fictional Star Wars universe created by George Lucas. See usage note.
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Force

Synonym of police force
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Force

A waterfall or cascade.
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Force

(transitive) To violate (a woman); to rape.
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Force

To exert oneself, to do one's utmost.
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Force

(transitive) To compel (someone or something) to do something.
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Force

(transitive) To constrain by force; to overcome the limitations or resistance of.
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Force

(transitive) To drive (something) by force, to propel (generally + prepositional phrase or adverb).
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Force

(transitive) To cause to occur (despite inertia, resistance etc.); to produce through force.
The comedian's jokes weren't funny, but I forced a laugh now and then.
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Force

(transitive) To forcibly open (a door, lock etc.).
To force a lock.
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Force

To obtain or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress.
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Force

To create an out by touching a base in advance of a runner who has no base to return to while in possession of a ball which has already touched the ground.
Jones forced the runner at second by stepping on the bag.
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Force

(whist) To compel (an adversary or partner) to trump a trick by leading a suit that he/she does not hold.
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Force

(archaic) To put in force; to cause to be executed; to make binding; to enforce.
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Force

(archaic) To provide with forces; to reinforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison.
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Force

(obsolete) To allow the force of; to value; to care for.
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Force

To stuff; to lard; to farce.
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Force

To stuff; to lard; to farce.
Wit larded with malice, and malice forced with wit.
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Force

To constrain to do or to forbear, by the exertion of a power not resistible; to compel by physical, moral, or intellectual means; to coerce; as, masters force slaves to labor.
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Force

To compel, as by strength of evidence; as, to force conviction on the mind.
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Force

To do violence to; to overpower, or to compel by violence to one's will; especially, to ravish; to violate; to commit rape upon.
To force their monarch and insult the court.
I should have forced thee soon wish other arms.
To force a spotless virgin's chastity.
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Force

To obtain, overcome, or win by strength; to take by violence or struggle; specifically, to capture by assault; to storm, as a fortress; as, to force the castle; to force a lock.
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Force

To impel, drive, wrest, extort, get, etc., by main strength or violence; - with a following adverb, as along, away, from, into, through, out, etc.
It stuck so fast, so deeply buried layThat scarce the victor forced the steel away.
To force the tyrant from his seat by war.
Ethelbert ordered that none should be forced into religion.
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Force

To put in force; to cause to be executed; to make binding; to enforce.
What can the church force more?
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Force

To exert to the utmost; to urge; hence, to strain; to urge to excessive, unnatural, or untimely action; to produce by unnatural effort; as, to force a conceit or metaphor; to force a laugh; to force fruits.
High on a mounting wave my head I bore,Forcing my strength, and gathering to the shore.
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Force

To compel (an adversary or partner) to trump a trick by leading a suit of which he has none.
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Force

To provide with forces; to reënforce; to strengthen by soldiers; to man; to garrison.
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Force

To allow the force of; to value; to care for.
For me, I force not argument a straw.
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Force

To use violence; to make violent effort; to strive; to endeavor.
Forcing with gifts to win his wanton heart.
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Force

To make a difficult matter of anything; to labor; to hesitate; hence, to force of, to make much account of; to regard.
Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.
I force not of such fooleries.
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Force

To be of force, importance, or weight; to matter.
It is not sufficient to have attained the name and dignity of a shepherd, not forcing how.
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Force

A waterfall; a cascade.
To see the falls for force of the river Kent.
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Force

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.
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Force

Power exerted against will or consent; compulsory power; violence; coercion; as, by force of arms; to take by force.
Which now they hold by force, and not by right.
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Force

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 forces.
Is Lucius general of the forces?
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Force

Strength or power exercised without law, or contrary to law, upon persons or things; violence.
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Force

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; centrifugal force.
Thy tears are of no force to mollifyThis flinty man.
More huge in strength than wise in works he was.
Adam and first matron EveHad ended now their orisons, and foundStrength added from above, new hope to springOut of despair.
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Force

A unit that is part of some military service;
He sent Caesar a force of six thousand men
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Force

One possessing or exercising power or influence or authority;
The mysterious presence of an evil power
May the force be with you
The forces of evil
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Force

(physics) the influence that produces a change in a physical quantity;
Force equals mass times acceleration
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Force

Group of people willing to obey orders;
A public force is necessary to give security to the rights of citizens
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Force

A powerful effect or influence;
The force of his eloquence easily persuaded them
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Force

An act of aggression (as one against a person who resists);
He may accomplish by craft in the long run what he cannot do by force and violence in the short one
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Force

Physical energy or intensity;
He hit with all the force he could muster
It was destroyed by the strength of the gale
A government has not the vitality and forcefulness of a living man
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Force

A group of people having the power of effective action;
He joined forces with a band of adventurers
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Force

(of a law) having legal validity;
The law is still in effect
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Force

To cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means :
She forced him to take a job in the city
He squeezed her for information
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Force

Urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate
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Force

Move with force,
He pushed the table into a corner
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Force

Impose or thrust urgently, importunately, or inexorably;
She forced her diet fads on him
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Force

Squeeze like a wedge into a tight space;
I squeezed myself into the corner
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Force

Force into or from an action or state, either physically or metaphorically;
She rammed her mind into focus
He drives me mad
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Force

Do forcibly; exert force;
Don't force it!
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Force

Cause to move along the ground by pulling;
Draw a wagon
Pull a sled
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Force

Take by force;
Storm the fort
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Force

Force exerted by a person or another object.
He applied force to open the stuck window.
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Force

The total force acting on an object.
The net force determined the box's acceleration.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can energy be created or destroyed?

No, it can only be transformed (conservation of energy).
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How is energy measured?

In joules (J).
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Does force have to involve contact?

Not always, it can be exerted through fields like gravity.
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How is thermal energy used?

In heating or driving engines.
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What is gravitational force?

The force of attraction between masses.
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Jan 05, 2024

Is energy transfer always visible?

Not necessarily, like in the case of heat radiation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What unit is used to measure force?

Newtons (N).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What is energy?

The capacity to perform work or cause change.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Can force change an object's motion?

Yes, it can accelerate or decelerate an object.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What is force?

A push or pull upon an object due to interaction.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Can energy change forms?

Yes, like kinetic energy to thermal energy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What is potential energy?

Energy stored due to an object's position or state.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Does energy always cause motion?

Not always, it can be stored as potential energy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What is kinetic energy?

Energy due to an object's motion.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

Is force always felt immediately?

Yes, as soon as the interaction occurs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

How is net force calculated?

By summing all the individual forces acting on an object.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What forms can energy take?

Kinetic, potential, thermal, chemical, electrical, etc.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What is frictional force?

The resistance force between two surfaces in contact.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

What is an example of applied force?

Pushing a door open.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

How does a magnet exert force?

Through a magnetic field, without direct contact.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 05, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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