Definition of compel in English:


Line breaks: com¦pel
Pronunciation: /kəmˈpɛl

verb (compels, compelling, compelled)

[with object and infinitive]
1Force or oblige (someone) to do something: 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, put under an obligation, leave someone no option but to;
informal bulldoze, railroad, steamroller, twist someone's arm, strong-arm, lean on, put the screws on
archaic constrain
exact, extort, demand, insist on, enforce, force, necessitate
archaic constrain
1.1 [with object] Bring about (something) by the use of force or pressure: they may compel a witness’s attendance at court by issue of a summons his striking appearance compelled attention
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 [with object and adverbial of direction] literary Force to come or go in a particular direction: by heav’n’s high will compell’d from shore to shore


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

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