Relatively weak electrical forces that attract neutral (uncharged) molecules to each other in gases, liquefied and solidified gases, and almost all organic liquids and solids. Solids held together by van der Waals forces typically have lower melting points and are softer than those held together by ionic, covalent, or metallic bonds (see bonding). The forces arise because neutral molecules, though uncharged, are usually electric dipoles, which have a tendency to align with each other and to induce further polarization in neighbouring molecules, resulting in a net attractive force. They are somewhat weaker than the forces involved in hydrogen bonding. Seealso Johannes D. van der Waals.
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Military organization of citizens with limited military training who are available for emergency service, usually for local defense. In many countries the militia is of ancient origin. The Anglo-Saxons required every able-bodied free male to serve. In colonial America it was the only defense against hostile Indians when regular British forces were not available. In the American Revolution the militia, called the Minutemen, provided the bulk of the American forces. Militias played a similar role in the War of 1812 and the American Civil War. State-controlled volunteer militias in the U.S. became the National Guard. British militia units, begun in the 16th century for home defense and answerable to the county sheriff or lord lieutenant, were absorbed into the regular army in the 20th century. Today various paramilitary organizations, from U.S. white supremacists to revolutionaries in the developing world, use the term militia to accentuate their populist origins.
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