[ en-fawrs, -fohrs ]
See synonyms for: enforceenforcedenforcesenforcing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),en·forced, en·forc·ing.
  1. to put or keep in force; compel obedience to: to enforce a rule; Traffic laws will be strictly enforced.

  2. to obtain (payment, obedience, etc.) by force or compulsion.

  1. to impose (a course of action) upon a person: The doctor enforced a strict dietary regimen.

  2. to support (a demand, claim, etc.) by force: to enforce one's rights as a citizen.

  3. to impress or urge (an argument, contention, etc.) forcibly; lay stress upon: He enforced his argument by adding details.

Origin of enforce

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English enforcen, from Anglo-French enforcer, Old French enforcier, enforc(ir), from en- en-1 + forci(e)r “to compel, strengthen” (see force)

Other words for enforce

Other words from enforce

  • en·force·a·ble, adjective
  • en·force·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • en·forc·ed·ly [en-fawr-sid-lee, -fohr-], /ɛnˈfɔr sɪd li, -ˈfoʊr-/, adverb
  • en·forc·er, noun
  • en·forc·ive, adjective
  • half-en·forced, adjective
  • non·en·force·a·ble, adjective
  • non·en·forced, adjective
  • non·en·for·ced·ly, adverb
  • non·en·forc·ing, adjective
  • pre·en·force, verb (used with object), pre·en·forced, pre·en·forc·ing.
  • qua·si-en·forced, adjective
  • un·en·force·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • un·en·force·a·ble, adjective
  • un·en·forced, adjective
  • un·en·forc·ed·ly, adverb
  • well-en·forced, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use enforce in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for enforce


/ (ɪnˈfɔːs) /

  1. to ensure observance of or obedience to (a law, decision, etc)

  2. to impose (obedience, loyalty, etc) by or as by force

  1. to emphasize or reinforce (an argument, demand, etc)

Derived forms of enforce

  • enforceable, adjective
  • enforceability, noun
  • enforcedly (ɪnˈfɔːsɪdlɪ), adverb
  • enforcement, noun
  • enforcer, noun

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