- 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.
- to overpower.
- Archaic. to drive together; unite by force; herd.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for compel on Thesaurus.com
1. constrain, oblige, coerce. 3. overpower, bend.
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
But atmosphere, toujours atmosphere—of that Huysmans is the compeller.Egoists
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
Jupiter is denominated by Homer the compeller of clouds: Juno receives them, and remits them in showers to plants and animals.Imaginary Conversations and Poems
Walter Savage Landor
- 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
C14: from Latin compellere to drive together, from com- together + pellere to drive
Word Origin and History for compeller
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper