Definition of compel
- Hunger compelled him to eat.
- The general was compelled to surrender.
- Public opinion compelled her to sign the bill.
Illness compelled him to stay in bed.
We took steps to compel their cooperation.
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The prefix com- acts as a strengthener in this word; thus, to compel is to drive powerfully, or force. So you may feel compelled to speak to a friend about his drinking, or compelled to reveal a secret in order to prevent something from happening. A compulsion is usually a powerful inner urge; a compulsive shopper or a compulsive gambler usually can't hold onto money for long. You might not want to do something unless there's a compelling reason; however, a compelling film is simply one that seems serious and important.
twist one's arm;
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