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In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity (which includes to begin moving from a state of rest), i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform. Force can also be described by intuitive concepts such as a push or pull. A force has both magnitude and direction, making it a vector quantity. Newton's second law, F=ma, was originally formulated in slightly different, but equivalent terms: the original version states that the net force acting upon an object is equal to the rate at which its momentum changes.

Related concepts to force include: thrust, which increases the velocity of an object; drag, which decreases the velocity of an object; and torque which produces changes in rotational speed of an object. Forces which do not act uniformly on all parts of a body will also cause mechanical stresses, a technical term for influences which cause deformation of matter. While mechanical stress can remain embedded in a solid object, gradually deforming it, mechanical stress in a fluid determines changes in its pressure and volume.

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