You can bring a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. You can coerce — or pressure — someone to attend your office holiday party, but you can't make him have fun.

If you're at a point where you feel like you need to coerce someone into doing something, it might be more civilized to just give up. To coerce is to manipulate, use aggressive arguments, pressure unfairly, or threaten — really, this isn't very civilized behavior, is it? Handy synonyms for this verb include force and pressure. In a gangster film, you might hear a character say he "put the squeeze" on someone — another way of saying he coerced them.

Definitions of coerce
  1. verb
    cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means
    synonyms: force, hale, pressure, squeeze
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    turn up the heat, turn up the pressure
    apply great or increased pressure
    to compel or force or urge relentlessly or exert coercive pressure on, or motivate strongly
    overcome or coerce as if by using a heavy club
    steamroll, steamroller
    bring to a specified state by overwhelming force or pressure
    squeeze for
    squeeze someone for money, information, etc.
    dragoon, railroad, sandbag
    compel by coercion, threats, or crude means
    terrorise, terrorize
    coerce by violence or with threats
    bring oneself
    cause to undertake a certain action, usually used in the negative
    type of:
    compel, obligate, oblige
    force somebody to do something
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week