compel

[ kuhm-pel ]
/ kəmˈpɛl /

verb (used with object), com·pelled, com·pel·ling.

verb (used without object), com·pelled, com·pel·ling.

to use force.
to have a powerful and irresistible effect, influence, etc.

Origin of compel

1350–1400; Middle English compellen (< Anglo-French) < Latin compellere to crowd, force, equivalent to com- com- + pellere to push, drive

Related forms

Can be confused

coerce compel constrain force obligecompel impel (see synonym study at the current entry)

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for compel

British Dictionary definitions for compel

compel

/ (kəmˈpɛl) /

verb -pels, -pelling or -pelled (tr)

to cause (someone) by force (to be or do something)
to obtain by force; exactto compel obedience
to overpower or subdue
archaic to herd or drive together

Derived Forms

compellable, adjectivecompellably, adverbcompeller, noun

Word Origin for compel

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