American English

Definition of compel verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (formal)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they compel
    he / she / it compels
    past simple compelled
    -ing form compelling
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  1. 1to force someone to do something; to make something necessary compel somebody to do something The law can compel fathers to make regular payments for their children. Ifeel compelled to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your book. compel something Last year bad health compelled his retirement.
  2. 2compel something (not used in the progressive tenses) to cause a particular reaction He spoke with an authority that compelled the attention of the whole crowd. see also compulsion
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: compel