[kuh m-pel-ing]
  1. tending to compel, as to force or push toward a course of action; overpowering: There were compelling reasons for their divorce.
  2. having a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect: a man of compelling integrity; a compelling drama.

Origin of compelling

First recorded in 1490–1500; compel + -ing2
Related formsun·com·pel·ling, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for uncompelling


  1. arousing or denoting strong interest, esp admiring interest
  2. (of an argument, evidence, etc) convincing
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 uncompelling



c.1600, present participle adjective from compel. Meaning "irresistible" is from 1901. Related: Compellingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper