Compel means to force or drive someone to do something. Even if you don't like toast, when you visit the toast-eating natives of Shrintakook Island, you'll be compelled to eat it, or they will not trust you.

You don't want to be compelled to go to a classical music concert if you'd rather listen to rap. School officials might be upset if a winter storm compels them to cancel classes, but you'd be okay with that. A compelling mystery forces you to pay attention because you want to find out "whodunit."

Definitions of compel
  1. verb
    force somebody to do something
    “We compel all students to fill out this form”
    synonyms: obligate, oblige
    see moresee less
    show 21 types...
    hide 21 types...
    force, thrust
    impose urgently, importunately, or inexorably
    make walk
    coerce, force, hale, pressure, squeeze
    cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means
    clamor, clamour
    compel someone to do something by insistent clamoring
    compel or force into a particular state or activity
    compel through a sense of shame
    apply, enforce, implement
    ensure observance of laws and rules
    enforce, impose
    compel to behave in a certain way
    stick, sting
    saddle with something disagreeable or disadvantageous
    exhibit, march, parade
    walk ostentatiously
    cause to march or go at a marching pace
    turn up the heat, turn up the pressure
    apply great or increased pressure
    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
    execute, run
    carry out a process or program, as on a computer or a machine
    carry out the legalities of
    type of:
    cause, get, have, induce, make, stimulate
    cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner
  2. verb
    necessitate or exact
    “the water shortage compels conservation”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    ask, call for, demand, involve, necessitate, need, postulate, require, take
    require as useful, just, or proper
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month