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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

For those who were buying lower-end PCs simply for the purpose of tasks like email and media consumption, the tablet offered a compelling and easier alternative. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Why PCs Still Compute," 16 Nov. 2018 But, because there's something compelling about it, that keeps their interest. Sarah Kinonen, Allure, "Dermatologist Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, Reveals Why She Never Watches Viral Extraction Videos," 21 Aug. 2018 Magic Leap’s vision is a compelling alternative to that of Silicon Valley’s tech giants. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "I tried Magic Leap and saw a flawed glimpse of mixed reality’s amazing potential," 8 Aug. 2018 For everyone else, GIMP is a compelling, top-quality, free alternative to Photoshop. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "15 tech upgrades you can get for free," 15 June 2018 Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan bring such emotional depth to their characters and their on screen chemistry is so compelling that without them, this episode, while loaded with suspense, feels hollow. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 7," 17 Dec. 2018 Hell, maybe Microsoft thinks its first-party lineup is compelling enough to justify the $10 a month price tag, and won’t put much effort into building a larger library. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass subscription is coming to PCs, but in what form?," 25 Oct. 2018 What’s really compelling about this is families are saying this is helping them heal, because nobody has talked to them in 50 years. Tommy Rowan,, "Documentary coming on 27 Father Judge High grads killed in Vietnam," 26 June 2018 McGegan, who frequently serves as a guest conductor for the Kansas City Symphony, draws a lively, juicy sound from his ensemble that is compelling from beginning to end. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "These CDs will carry classical music lovers through the summer," 25 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of compelling

1606, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compelling

see compel

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Statistics for compelling

Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compelling

The first known use of compelling was in 1606

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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

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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).


the range of authority or knowledge

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