com·pel·ling | \kəm-ˈpe-liŋ \

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

Journal Report More in Investing in Funds & ETFs The camps are a compelling summer activity at a time when financial literacy among young adults has foundered and schools lack time and budget to incorporate financial education into the mix. Jane Hodges, WSJ, "What I Did at Summer Camp: Stocks and Personal Finance!," 3 June 2018 Good films always raise compelling questions, whether the format is fiction or documentary fact. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Three Identical Strangers’ Review: A Family Reunion Like No Other," 28 June 2018 But first, Woodward offers up a compelling argument as to why a modern-era mainland clash between Bernard and Dolores may be as worthy of our attention as any of the higher-budget skirmishes the park has seen over the last few seasons. Joanna Robinson, HWD, "Westworld Season 3—Everything We Know So Far," 25 June 2018 Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney said Malloy made a compelling argument for rejecting the legislation. Christopher Keating,, "All Malloy Vetoes Upheld; Lawmakers Fail On Overrides," 25 June 2018 Most likely, this ends in a settlement Brown appears to have a compelling argument that he was badly mistreated. Michael Mccann,, "Inside Sterling Brown’s compelling lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and City of Milwaukee," 19 June 2018 But the experience of Ohio Avenue offers a compelling argument for a different way of thinking about how to help children to manage their emotions and behavior—one that isn’t either the latest fad or a traditional system of rewards or punishments. Katherine Reynolds Lewis, The Atlantic, "One Ohio School’s Quest to Rethink Bad Behavior," 8 May 2018 In doing so, Google makes a compelling argument for why its way of developing AI will generate more immediately useful software than its biggest rivals, like Amazon and Facebook. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Google Lens actually shows how AI can make life easier," 8 May 2018 New research makes a compelling argument for cutting back on personal-care products that may be harmful to the environment. Amanda Macmillan,, "Your Beauty Products May Contribute to Rush-Hour Pollution Just As Much as Car Exhaust," 2 May 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

12 Oct 2018

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).


lying above or upon

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