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

v cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means

force, hale, pressure, squeeze
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

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.