co·​er·​cive | \ kō-ˈər-siv How to pronounce coercive (audio) \

Definition of coercive

: serving or intended to coerce coercive power coercive measures

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Other Words from coercive

coercively adverb
coerciveness noun

Examples of coercive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

So does a rugged individualism that resists being told what to do, compounded by wariness toward authorities among local immigrants from former Soviet republics, where immunization campaigns were conducted by a coercive state. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "Fear, resentment — and more demand for vaccines as one Washington county grapples with measles outbreak," 1 Apr. 2019 Workers would look for opportunities to discuss treatment, and advocates argue the caring-but-not-coercive approach helps people make changes. Washington Post, "‘It keeps us safe’: An NYC bathroom set up to stem overdoses," 13 July 2018 Sites that fail to comply with the new law will face fines and other coercive measures. James Vincent, The Verge, "UK porn law’s latest guidelines fail to answer critics," 18 Oct. 2018 Defense attorneys have said there is no real choice and have denounced the process as coercive. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "'What if I lose her forever?' In Guatemala, a couple fears for their child still in detention in U.S.," 10 July 2018 In many areas, Byford thought, N.Y.C. Transit had an old-fashioned, coercive attitude toward its employees, which encouraged deceit and excessive caution. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 Right now the crown prince acts with the authority of the king and controls the coercive powers of state. The Economist, "Waiting for the backlashCan Muhammad bin Salman’s gamble work?," 21 June 2018 But Dassey's lawyers say interrogators took advantage of his youth and mental limitations, fed him facts and extracted a confession through psychologically coercive tactics. Jessica Gresko,, "Teen in 'Making a Murderer' asks Supreme Court to take his case," 20 June 2018 The legislation calls for a report on China’s military and coercive activities in the South China Sea and authorizes the National Command Authority to take action to disrupt ongoing cyberattacks by Russia. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Congress, White House head for showdown over Chinese telecom ZTE after Senate OKs defense bill," 18 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coercive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of coercive

circa 1600, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coercive

coerce +_ -ive

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Statistics for coercive

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coercive

The first known use of coercive was circa 1600

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More Definitions for coercive



English Language Learners Definition of coercive

formal : using force or threats to make someone do something : using coercion


co·​er·​cive | \ kō-ˈər-siv How to pronounce coercive (audio) \

Legal Definition of coercive

1 : serving or intended to coerce
2 : resulting from coercion to protect women from coercive intimacy— Kimberle Crenshaw

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More from Merriam-Webster on coercive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coercive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coercive

Spanish Central: Translation of coercive

Nglish: Translation of coercive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coercive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on coercive

What made you want to look up coercive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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