Force Majeure Definition

fôrs mä-zhûr
Superior or overwhelming power.
Webster's New World
An unanticipated or uncontrollable event or effect which releases one from fulfillment of a contractual obligation.
Webster's New World
Greater force; a natural or human-induced disaster that causes a contract to fail of performance.
Webster's New World Law

(law) An unavoidable catastrophe, especially one that prevents someone from fulfilling a legal obligation.

A standard clause in a contract that indemnifies, or protects from loss, either or both parties to a transaction if events that prevent the realization of the contract are judged to be unanticipated or uncontrollable and reasonably beyond the terms of the contract or agreement. For example, when workers at the state-owned Venezuelan oil company went on strike in late 2002, a force majeure on oil exports was declared that suspended contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond the company’s control.
Webster's New World Finance

Other Word Forms of Force Majeure


force majeure
forces majeures

Origin of Force Majeure

  • Borrowing from French force majeure (greater force)

    From Wiktionary

  • French force force majeure greater

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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force majeure