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compel

[kuh m-pel] /kəmˈpɛl/
verb (used with object), compelled, compelling.
1.
to force or drive, especially to a course of action:
His disregard of the rules compels us to dismiss him.
2.
to secure or bring about by force.
3.
to force to submit; subdue.
4.
to overpower.
5.
Archaic. to drive together; unite by force; herd.
verb (used without object), compelled, compelling.
6.
to use force.
7.
to have a powerful and irresistible effect, influence, etc.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English compellen (< Anglo-French) < Latin compellere to crowd, force, equivalent to com- com- + pellere to push, drive
Related forms
compellable, adjective
compellably, adverb
compellent, adjective
compeller, noun
compellingly, adverb
precompel, verb (used with object), precompelled, precompelling.
uncompellable, adjective
uncompelled, adjective
Can be confused
coerce, compel, constrain, force, oblige (see synonym study at oblige)
compel, impel (see synonym study at the current entry)
compelled, impelled.
Synonyms
1. constrain, oblige, coerce. Compel, impel agree in the idea of using physical or other force to cause something to be done. Compel means to constrain someone, in some way, to yield or to do what one wishes: to compel a recalcitrant debtor to pay; Fate compels us to face danger and trouble. Impel may mean literally to push forward, but is usually applied figuratively, meaning to provide a strong motive or incentive toward a certain end: Wind impels a ship. Curiosity impels me to ask. 3. overpower, bend.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for compel
  • But he had no authority to extend or compel its use into the public at large.
  • On the other hand, suppose that the government feels it cannot compel people to take the shot.
  • It is irresponsible guardianship on the part of many parents to forcibly compel their children's views in line with their own.
  • For those of us who look to the skies, two major releases compel attention.
  • Avatar may have held my attention, but it didn't compel me to enjoy it.
  • No government policy will be able to compel people invest the money required without causing serious harm to the economy.
  • BP wants to drill offshore so they compel governments to grant the those powers.
  • Nothing is so good to teach the use of materials, and to compel to pungency of style.
  • There were others, it is true, when she dreaded any explanation which would compel her to forfeit her displeasure.
  • It will have powers of search and seizure, to subpoena witnesses and to compel them to answer questions.
British Dictionary definitions for compel

compel

/kəmˈpɛl/
verb (transitive) -pels, -pelling, -pelled
1.
to cause (someone) by force (to be or do something)
2.
to obtain by force; exact: to compel obedience
3.
to overpower or subdue
4.
(archaic) to herd or drive together
Derived Forms
compellable, adjective
compellably, adverb
compeller, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin compellere to drive together, from com- together + pellere to drive
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 compel
v.

mid-14c., from Old French compellir, from Latin compellere "to drive together, drive to one place" (of cattle), "to force or compel" (of persons), from com- "together" (see com-) + pellere "to drive" (see pulse (n.1)). Related: Compelled; compelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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compel in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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