Borrowed from French force majeure, first known use in English in 1883, (first documented in French in 1690 in the sense "exceptional, exceptionally strong force"; in modern French, however, the term is only used to refer to an event or an imperative necessity in a more or less loose use of the legal concept, never to a force, as in the older, literal sense still additionally found in English), from majeur in the sense "major, main, of great importance", by extension of the older sense "greater, more important", from Latin māior (“larger, greater”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈfɔːs məˈʒɜː/, /ˈfɔːs mɑˈʒɜː/, /ˈfɔːs mæˈʒɜː/
Audio (RP) (file)
- Hyphenation: force ma‧jeure
- An overwhelming force.
- (law) An unavoidable catastrophe, especially one that prevents someone from fulfilling a legal obligation.
2013 October 22, “Brazil's Copersucar declares force majeure to 3rd party sugar shippers”, in Reuters:
- Brazil's largest trader of sugar and ethanol declared force majeure to some third party exporters of sugar with contracts to ship through its Santos Port terminal that burned down on Friday, sources in the sugar trade said.
2013 November 3, “Observer Magazine Competition: Win a Moncrief bag and Ipad case! [terms and conditions]”, in The Observer, London:
- 18. GNM [Guardian News & Media Limited] shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.