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verb (used with object), im·pelled, im·pel·ling.
  1. to drive or urge forward; press on; incite or constrain to action.
  2. to drive or cause to move onward; propel; impart motion to.
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Origin of impel

1375–1425; late Middle English impellen < Latin impellere to strike against, set in motion (transitive), equivalent to im- im-1 + pellere to strike, move (something); akin to pulse1
Related formsun·im·pelled, adjective
Can be confusedcompel impel (see synonym study at compel)

Synonyms for impel

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1. actuate.

Synonym study

1. See compel.

Antonyms for impel

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for impelled

oblige, compel, induce, force, inspire, propel, move, actuate, thrust, poke, motivate, goad, start, prod, boost, instigate, urge, power, influence, excite

Examples from the Web for impelled

Contemporary Examples of impelled

Historical Examples of impelled

British Dictionary definitions for impelled


verb -pels, -pelling or -pelled (tr)
  1. to urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate
  2. to push, drive, or force into motion
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Derived Formsimpellent, noun, adjective

Word Origin for impel

C15: from Latin impellere to push against, drive forward, from im- (in) + pellere to drive, push, strike
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 impelled



early 15c., from Latin impellere "to push, strike against, drive forward, urge on," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + pellere "to push, drive" (see pulse (n.1)). Related: Impelled; impelling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper