Definition of compel in English:


Syllabification: com·pel
Pronunciation: /kəmˈpel

verb (compels, compelling, compelled)

[with object]
1Force or oblige (someone) to do something: [with object and infinitive]: a sense of duty compelled Harry to answer her questions
More example sentences
  • He could leave for Philadelphia with his new bride as planned, but duty compels him to stay and meet his fate.
  • Blood binds us, duty compels us to serve the Throne, to give up our lives if need be to protect those upon the Throne and those destined by fate to ascend to it when the time comes.
  • Duty and honor compel him to return to face his foe despite the vehement protestations of Amy, a Quaker.
oblige, require, make
informal lean on, put the screws on
exact, extort, demand, insist on, force, necessitate
1.1Bring about (something) by the use of force or pressure: they may compel a witness’s attendance at court by issue of a summons
More example sentences
  • On two occasions the applicant was forced to bring motions to compel payment.
  • The defendant brought a motion to compel the attendance of the plaintiff at an examination for discovery.
  • Crucially he or she will have statutory powers to both summon witnesses and compel evidence.
1.2 literary Drive forcibly: by heav’n’s high will compell’d from shore to shore


late Middle English: from Latin compellere, from com- 'together' + pellere 'drive'.

Definition of compel in: