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compel

Line breaks: com¦pel
Pronunciation: /kəmˈpɛl
 
/

Definition of compel in English:

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.
Synonyms
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

Origin

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

More
  • appeal from (Middle English):

    Recorded first in legal contexts, appeal comes via Old French from Latin appellare ‘to address, accost, call upon’. Peal (Late Middle English) is a shortening of appeal, perhaps from the call to prayers of a ringing bell. The base of appeal is Latin pellere ‘to drive’, found also in compel ‘drive together’; dispel ‘drive apart’; expel ‘drive out’; impel ‘drive towards’; and impulsive; propel ‘drive forwards’; repel ‘drive back’, all Late Middle English. It is also the source of the pulse (Middle English) that you can feel on your wrist and is related to push (Middle English). The other kind of pulse, an edible seed, is a different word, which comes via Old French from Latin puls ‘porridge of meal or pulse’, related to the sources of both pollen and powder.

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