[ kuhm-pel ]
/ kəmˈpɛl /
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verb (used with object), com·pelled, com·pel·ling.
to force or drive, especially to a course of action: His disregard of the rules compels us to dismiss him.
to secure or bring about by force.
to force to submit; subdue.
Archaic. to drive together; unite by force; herd.
verb (used without object), com·pelled, com·pel·ling.
to use force.
to have a powerful and irresistible effect, influence, etc.
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Origin of compel
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English compellen, from Anglo-French or directly from Latin compellere “to crowd, force,” equivalent to com- com- + pellere “to push, drive”
synonym study for compel
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.
OTHER WORDS FROM compel
com·pel·la·ble, adjectivecom·pel·la·bly, adverbcom·pel·lent, adjectivecom·pel·ler, noun
com·pel·ling·ly, adverbpre·com·pel, verb (used with object), pre·com·pelled, pre·com·pel·ling.un·com·pel·la·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use compel in a sentence
The mission and values of The San Diego Foundation compel me to take steps forward for the benefit of those among us who are under-resourced and under-represented in society.Reversing Racism Will Take Every Tool Available — Including Prop. 16|Mark Stuart|October 28, 2020|Voice of San Diego
I feel personally really compelled to do everything in my power to help remedy that wrong.Sacramento Report: Gonzalez Isn’t Spending on the Ballot Measure You Might Think|Sara Libby|October 16, 2020|Voice of San Diego
Her mother is talking to her again, and, as of last fall, she no longer felt compelled to cover her own chin tattoo while at work.Reviving an Indigenous Tradition: Face Tattoos|Daniel Malloy|October 14, 2020|Ozy
Swayed by her age, particularly expectations of where she should be at this stage in life, Radha feels compelled to take it, only to find that what may have worked in the early years of her journey may not work for the woman she is now.
When they’re together, the show feels compelled to give them conflict, and most of it’s forced and inorganic.Every episode of Gilmore Girls, ranked|Constance Grady|October 6, 2020|Vox
British Dictionary definitions for 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 of compelcompellable, 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