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

This combination of warmth and wariness is part of what has made Theron one of Hollywood’s most compelling—and enduring—stars. Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire, "Charlize Theron Is in Control—and Funny as Hell," 1 May 2019 Most compelling of all is the book’s portrait of a decadent Manhattan that shimmers with glamour, but has something rotten at its core. Constance Grady, Vox, "The 16 best books I read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 The bottom line: Alexa is still the most compelling voice-control platform, and the improved Echo should only boost its momentum., The Seattle Times, "Hey, Alexa, which gadgets work the best with you?," 7 Nov. 2018 There will be times this season when a game in Class-AA Arkansas or Class-AAA Tacoma will be more compelling that what’s happening in T-Mobile Park. Matt Calkins, The Seattle Times, "If you like spring training, you’re in luck. The Mariners’ season will be six months of it.," 27 Mar. 2019 There are a few possibilities that scientists have already raised, but none of them are particularly compelling. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Something Weird Is Going on With New Horizons' Next Target," 21 Dec. 2018 Ashley Spillane, former president of Rock the Vote who currently runs the consulting firm Impactual, says people who used positive messaging to talk about voting stories had the most compelling arguments to get people to go out and vote. Rebecca Gale, Marie Claire, "How to Impact the Midterms, Even If You Don’t Live in a Swing State," 22 Oct. 2018 At least one labor-law professor thinks that Diva Limousine has a compelling argument here. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Limo firm to judge: Tell us whether Uber drivers are employees," 8 Oct. 2018 But if there ever was a compelling argument for paying banks to hold on to excess reserves, that time is past. WSJ, "Fed Should Slowly Unwind Excess Reserves," 26 Sep. 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

11 May 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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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