- To compel is to force someone do something or make something happen.
An example of compel is when you argue until someone agrees to give in.
compel definition by Webster's New World
- to force or constrain, as to do something
- to get or bring about by force
- Archaic to gather or drive together by force, as a flock
Origin: Middle English compellen ; from Old French compellir ; from Classical Latin compellere ; from com-, together plush pellere, to drive: see felt
compel definition by American Heritage Dictionary
transitive verb com·pelled, com·pel·ling, com·pels
- To force, drive, or constrain: Duty compelled the soldiers to volunteer for the mission.
- To necessitate or pressure by force; exact: An energy crisis compels fuel conservation. See Synonyms at force.
- To exert a strong, irresistible force on; sway: “The land, in a certain, very real way, compels the minds of the people” (Barry Lopez).
Origin: Middle English compellen, from Latin compellere : com-, com- + pellere, to drive; see pel-5 in Indo-European roots.
- com·pelˈla·ble adjective
- com·pelˈla·bly adverb
- com·pelˈler noun