“A feat of strength, skill, or craftsmanship; a notably well-executed work or production, sometimes one that is an exercise in technique or showmanship at the expense of other qualities. Plural: tours de force.
‘John Steinbeck and Saul Bellow became my special heroes a little later, as I decided I wanted to be a writer; and each, I notice now, chose to write a slapstick tour de force about a slaughter of the innocents in which the innocents were frogs.’”
Edward Hoagland, The New York Times
Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.