forcible vs physical what difference

what is difference between forcible and physical



From Middle English forcible, forsable, from Old French forcible, from forcier (to conquer by force).


forcible (comparative more forcible, superlative most forcible)

  1. Done by force, forced.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II, lines 790-96, [1]
      I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems, / Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far, / Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed, / And, in embraces forcible and foul / Engendering with me, of that rape begot / These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry / Surround me, as thou saw’st—
    • 1923, “Jim Crow Tendency,” Time, 9 March, 1923, [3]
      Since the forcible ejection of pugilist Siki from the New York Bar in Paris, discussion of Negro rights has become serious.
    • 2008, U.S. Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States
      Forcible rape, as defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.
  2. (rare or obsolete) Having (physical) force, forceful.
  3. Having a powerful effect; forceful, telling, strong, convincing, effective.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, Book III, London: George Routledge & Sons, 1888, p. 207, [5]
      But that which hath been once most sufficient, may wax otherwise by alteration of time and place; that punishment which hath been sometimes forcible to bridle sin, may grow afterwards too weak and feebled.
    • c. 1598, William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act V, Scene 2, [6]
      Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Job 6:25 [7]
      How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?
    • 1859, Francis Bacon, Historia Densi et Rari (1623), translated by James Spedding and Robert Leslie Ellis, in The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon, edited by James Spedding, London: Longman & Co., 1861, Vol. II, section 388, p. 470,
      Sweet smells are most forcible in dry substances, when broken; and so likewise in oranges or lemons, the nipping off their rind giveth out their smell more []
    • 1951, C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian, Collins, 1998, Chapter 7,
      They all jumped up, shaking the water out of their ears and wringing their little blankets, and asked the Giant in shrill but forcible voices whether he thought they weren’t wet enough without this sort of thing.
  4. Able to be forced.
    • 1831, Richard Burn, Joseph Chitty, Thomas Chitty, The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer (volume 1, page 793)
      [] it seems that an entry is not forcible by the bare drawing up a latch, or pulling back the bolt of a door, there being no appearance therein of its being done by strong hand, or multitude of people; []
    • 1835, Sir Thomas Edlyne Tomlins, Thomas Colpitts Granger, The Law-dictionary
      But an entry may be forcible, not only in respect of a violence actually done to the person of a man, but also in respect of any other kind of violence in the manner of the entry, as by breaking open the doors of a house []

Derived terms

  • forcible-feeble
  • forcibly


  • John A. Simpson and Edward S. C. Weiner, editors (1989), “forcible”, in The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, →ISBN.


Alternative forms

  • physickal (obsolete)


Borrowed from Late Latin physicālis, from Latin physica (study of nature), from Ancient Greek φυσική (phusikḗ), feminine singular of φυσικός (phusikós).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈfɪzɪkəl/


physical (comparative more physical, superlative most physical)

  1. Of medicine.
    1. (obsolete) Pertaining to the field of medicine; medical. [15th–19th c.]
    2. (obsolete) That practises medicine; pertaining to doctors, physicianly. [18th c.]
      • 1788, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary, Oxford 2009, p. 19:
        Her father was thrown from his horse, when his blood was in a very inflammatory state, and the bruises were very dangerous; his recovery was not expected by the physical tribe.
    3. (obsolete) Medicinal; good for the health, curative, therapeutic. [16th–19th c.]
      • 1579, Thomas North, translating Pliny, Parallel Lives:
        Phisicall [transl. ϕαρμακώδεις (pharmakṓdeis)] herbes, as Helleborum, Lingewort, or Beares foote.
  2. Of matter or nature.
    1. Pertaining to the world as understood through the senses rather than the mind; tangible, concrete; having to do with the material world. [from 16th c.]
      • Labour, then, in the physical world, is [] employed in putting objects in motion.
    2. In accordance with the laws of nature; now specifically, pertaining to physics. [from 16th c.]
    3. Denoting a map showing natural features of the landscape (compare political). [from 18th c.]
  3. Of the human body.
    1. Having to do with the body as opposed to the mind; corporeal, bodily. [from 18th c.]
    2. Sexual, carnal. [from 18th c.]
    3. Involving bodily force or contact; vigorous, aggressive. [from 20th c.]


  • mental, psychological; having to do with the mind viewed as distinct from body.

Derived terms

Related terms



physical (plural physicals)

  1. Physical examination.
    Synonyms: checkup, check-up
  2. (parapsychology) A physical manifestation of psychic origin, as through ectoplasmic solidification.


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