Share this entry

Share this page

compel

Synonyms of compel in English:

verb

  • 1 he compelled them to leave their land
    oblige, require, make
    informal lean on, put the screws on
  • 2 they can compel compliance
    exact, extort, demand, insist on, force, necessitate
  • Choose the right word

    compel, coerce, constrain, force, necessitate, oblige
    A parent faced with a rebellious teenager may try to compel him to do his homework by threatening to take away his allowance. Compel commonly implies the exercise of authority, the exertion of great effort, or the impossibility of doing anything else ( compelled to graduate from high school by her eagerness to leave home). It typically requires a personal object, although it is possible to compel a reaction or response ( she compels admiration). Force is a little stronger, suggesting the exertion of power, energy, or physical strength to accomplish something or to subdue resistance ( his mother forced him to confess that he'd broken the basement window). Coerce can imply the use of force, but often stops short of using it ( she was coerced into obedience by the threat of losing her Internet privileges). Constrain means compel, but by means of restriction, confinement, or limitation ( constrained from dating by his parents' strictness). Necessitate and oblige make an action necessary by imposing certain conditions that demand a response ( her mother's illness obliged her to be more cooperative; it also necessitated giving up her social life).

    Definition of compel in:

    Share this entry

    Share this page

     

    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

    Word of the day cumbersome
    Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
    adjective
    large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…