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[koh-urs] /koʊˈɜrs/
verb (used with object), coerced, coercing.
to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition:
They coerced him into signing the document.
to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion; exact:
to coerce obedience.
to dominate or control, especially by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc.:
The state is based on successfully coercing the individual.
Origin of coerce
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin coercēre to hold in, restrain, equivalent to co- co- + -ercēre, combining form of arcēre to keep in, keep away, akin to arca ark
Related forms
coercer, noun
coercible, adjective
noncoercible, adjective
uncoerced, adjective
Can be confused
coerce, compel, constrain, force, oblige (see synonym study at oblige) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for coerce
  • He was the last because he decided not to coerce the senate, but to put himself in its place.
  • And, when sufficiently annoying, the sound may actually coerce them from bed to fill a food bowl.
  • Reporting that kind of behavior is professional ethics, as is not trying to coerce or threaten your students into compliance.
  • Today, coaches no longer have to coerce athletes into taking drugs.
  • He lusted after the headlines, and hoped strong-arm tactics would coerce settlements.
  • Indentured servitude was a violent contract, with physical torture used to coerce labor.
  • There are almost an infinite number of ways to coerce someone into some kind of confession.
  • The real dishonesty is the attempt to coerce someone to see something they don't see and then cite them for lack of imagination.
  • Some governments covertly harp on this naive adage to coerce their people to be obedient citizens.
  • Dictators have the tendency to coerce their subjects into absolute obedience and capitulation and to stifle voices of dissent.
British Dictionary definitions for coerce


(transitive) to compel or restrain by force or authority without regard to individual wishes or desires
Derived Forms
coercer, noun
coercible, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin coercēre to confine, restrain, from co- together + arcēre to enclose
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
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Word Origin and History for coerce

mid-15c., cohercen, from Middle French cohercer, from Latin coercere "to control, restrain, shut up together," from com- "together" (see co-) + arcere "to enclose, confine, contain, ward off," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane). Related: Coerced; coercing. No record of the word between late 15c. and mid-17c.; its reappearance 1650s is perhaps a back-formation from coercion.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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