com·​pel·​ling | \ kəm-ˈpe-liŋ How to pronounce compelling (audio) \

Definition of compelling

: that compels: such as
a : forceful a compelling personality a compelling desire
b : demanding attention for compelling reasons The novel was so compelling that I couldn't put it down.
c : convincing no compelling evidence

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from compelling

compellingly adverb

Examples of compelling in a Sentence

The novel was so compelling that I couldn't put it down. He made a compelling argument. I would need a very compelling reason to leave my job. She had a compelling need to share what she had heard.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The romantic relationship at the play's center, largely depicted in a series of scenes in which the two men either playfully banter or argue about such things as the existence of God, isn't sufficiently compelling. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Rolling Stone': Theater Review," 16 July 2019 Is the storytelling going to be compelling enough to rise to the first year. Natalie Stone,, "Will Big Little Lies Return for Season 3? It's 'Not Realistic,' HBO Executive Says," 15 July 2019 The brothers’ testimony was compelling, but Scott — as the victim turned advocate — was the star witness. Kevin Rector,, "A decade after being robbed at gunpoint, Baltimore’s city council president speaks out for assailant in court," 15 July 2019 Although there will be literally more than 1 million things on sale, many will likely not be that compelling to you. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2019," 12 July 2019 Another very small study of psoriasis patients conducted in 2019 is equally compelling. Lambeth Hochwald,, "Can CBD Relieve Psoriasis Symptoms? Here’s What Doctors Are Saying," 9 July 2019 The name of the game is post-launch because, while its story is compelling, the developers want players to be gaming for years to come. Nick Romano,, "10 best videogames of 2019 (so far)," 27 June 2019 The logic behind the introduction of these new roles is compelling, says Ben Gershlick of the Health Foundation, another think-tank. The Economist, "The front line of England’s NHS is being reinvented," 27 June 2019 Less compelling are the older versions of Allie and Noah played by Gena Rowlands (Cassavetes’ mother) and James Garner, whose presence adds more schmaltz than any narrative framing device ought to. Anne Cohen,, "Did Nicholas Sparks Kill The Notebook? Or, Was It Always Doomed?," 25 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of compelling

1606, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compelling

see compel

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compelling

Statistics for compelling

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compelling

The first known use of compelling was in 1606

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for compelling



English Language Learners Definition of compelling

: very interesting : able to capture and hold your attention
: capable of causing someone to believe or agree
: strong and forceful : causing you to feel that you must do something



Legal Definition of compelling

: that compels : tending to demand action or to convince a compelling need for disclosure a compelling argument

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on compelling

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!