Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

compel - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     compel pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecompelling
past tensecompelled
past participlecompelled
  1. to force someone to do something, or to get something from someone using force
    compel someone to do something:

    The order compelled him to appear as a witness.

    feel compelled to do something:

    I feel compelled to write to thank you.

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play