Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

compel

[kuh m-pel]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), com·pelled, com·pel·ling.
  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.
Show More
verb (used without object), com·pelled, com·pel·ling.
  1. to use force.
  2. to have a powerful and irresistible effect, influence, etc.
Show More

Origin of compel

1350–1400; Middle English compellen (< Anglo-French) < Latin compellere to crowd, force, equivalent to com- com- + pellere to push, drive
Related formscom·pel·la·ble, adjectivecom·pel·la·bly, adverbcom·pel·lent, adjectivecom·pel·ler, nouncom·pel·ling·ly, adverbpre·com·pel, verb (used with object), pre·com·pelled, pre·com·pel·ling.un·com·pel·la·ble, adjectiveun·com·pelled, adjective
Can be confusedcoerce compel constrain force obligecompel impel (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for compeller

Historical Examples

  • But atmosphere, toujours atmosphere—of that Huysmans is the compeller.

    Egoists

    James Huneker

  • Was he not my son-in-law, my ancient friend, for 20 years the master of great Rome, for 30 years the compeller of victory?

    Caesar and Cleopatra

    George Bernard Shaw

  • But for all his incalculable indebtednesses, Wagner is the great initiator, the compeller of the modern period.

    Musical Portraits

    Paul Rosenfeld

  • Jupiter is denominated by Homer the compeller of clouds: Juno receives them, and remits them in showers to plants and animals.


British Dictionary definitions for compeller

compel

verb -pels, -pelling or -pelled (tr)
  1. to cause (someone) by force (to be or do something)
  2. to obtain by force; exactto compel obedience
  3. to overpower or subdue
  4. archaic to herd or drive together
Show More
Derived Formscompellable, adjectivecompellably, adverbcompeller, 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

Word Origin and History for compeller

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper