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[koh-urs] /koʊˈɜrs/
verb (used with object), coerced, coercing.
to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition:
They coerced him into signing the document.
to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact:
to coerce obedience.
to dominate or control, especially by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc.:
The state is based on successfully coercing the individual.
Origin of coerce
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin coercēre to hold in, restrain, equivalent to co- co- + -ercēre, combining form of arcēre to keep in, keep away, akin to arca ark
Related forms
coercer, noun
coercible, adjective
noncoercible, adjective
uncoerced, adjective
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for coerce
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With such a backing, he could coerce ministries at will, and remake the politics of England.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • But he made a great mistake if he thought that he could coerce Flavia in that way.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • "Most certainly, doctor; I'd never seek to coerce you," said Cashel, smiling.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Cowper had let that wife of his coerce him into swearing my life away.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • The slightest attempt to fight or coerce them will bring them up "in arms" in a moment.

British Dictionary definitions for coerce


(transitive) to compel or restrain by force or authority without regard to individual wishes or desires
Derived Forms
coercer, noun
coercible, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin coercēre to confine, restrain, from co- together + arcēre to enclose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coerce

mid-15c., cohercen, from Middle French cohercer, from Latin coercere "to control, restrain, shut up together," from com- "together" (see co-) + arcere "to enclose, confine, contain, ward off," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane). Related: Coerced; coercing. No record of the word between late 15c. and mid-17c.; its reappearance 1650s is perhaps a back-formation from coercion.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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