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compel

[kuh m-pel] /kəmˈpɛl/
verb (used with object), compelled, compelling.
1.
to force or drive, especially to a course of action:
His disregard of the rules compels us to dismiss him.
2.
to secure or bring about by force.
3.
to force to submit; subdue.
4.
to overpower.
5.
Archaic. to drive together; unite by force; herd.
verb (used without object), compelled, compelling.
6.
to use force.
7.
to have a powerful and irresistible effect, influence, etc.
Origin of compel
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English compellen (< Anglo-French) < Latin compellere to crowd, force, equivalent to com- com- + pellere to push, drive
Related forms
compellable, adjective
compellably, adverb
compellent, adjective
compeller, noun
compellingly, adverb
precompel, verb (used with object), precompelled, precompelling.
uncompellable, adjective
uncompelled, adjective
Can be confused
compel, impel (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. constrain, oblige, coerce. 3. overpower, bend.
Synonym Study
3.Compel, impel agree in the idea of using physical or other force to cause something to be done. Compel means to constrain someone, in some way, to yield or to do what one wishes: to compel a recalcitrant debtor to pay; Fate compels us to face danger and trouble. Impel may mean literally to push forward, but is usually applied figuratively, meaning to provide a strong motive or incentive toward a certain end: Wind impels a ship. Curiosity impels me to ask.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for compelled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Finally they had been compelled to fire on them, but had not killed any.

  • A few shots were exchanged, and Melton was compelled to retreat.

  • While traveling that night I was compelled to pass a large plantation.

    Biography of a Slave Charles Thompson
  • I shall be compelled to mention in my report how you and other ladies add to our difficulties.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Now she was compelled to a readjustment: one worked in the night and slept in the day.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for compelled

compel

/kəmˈpɛl/
verb (transitive) -pels, -pelling, -pelled
1.
to cause (someone) by force (to be or do something)
2.
to obtain by force; exact: to compel obedience
3.
to overpower or subdue
4.
(archaic) to herd or drive together
Derived Forms
compellable, adjective
compellably, adverb
compeller, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin compellere to drive together, from com- together + pellere to drive
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 compelled

compel

v.

mid-14c., from Old French compellir, from Latin compellere "to drive together, drive to one place" (of cattle), "to force or compel" (of persons), from com- "together" (see com-) + pellere "to drive" (see pulse (n.1)). Related: Compelled; compelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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