en·​force | \ in-ˈfȯrs How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en- \
enforced; enforcing; enforces

Definition of enforce

transitive verb

1 : to give force to : strengthen
2 : to urge with energy enforce arguments
3 : constrain, compel enforce obedience
4 obsolete : to effect or gain by force
5 : to carry out effectively enforce laws

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Other Words from enforce

enforceability \ in-​ˌfȯr-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en-​ \ noun
enforceable \ in-​ˈfȯr-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en-​ \ adjective
enforcement \ in-​ˈfȯr-​smənt How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Examples of enforce in a Sentence

Police will be enforcing the parking ban. the duty of the police is to enforce the law
Recent Examples on the Web Find out how the city will enforce violations of the rules and how some local fans are adapting their traditional parties. San Antonio Express-News, "Express Briefing: Super Bowl Sunday could be a COVID-fest, S.A. warned," 4 Feb. 2021 France's interior minister said an extra 100,000 police officers were mobilized to enforce a 7 p.m. curfew and break up unauthorized gatherings of more than 10 people. NBC News, "World rings in 2021 with muted celebrations amid Covid-19 restrictions," 1 Jan. 2021 The Trump administration has been reluctant to impose airline screening and safety requirements, opting instead to let each carrier and airport create and enforce their own individual policies. Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times, "Coughing, sneezing, vomiting: Visibly ill people aren’t being kept off planes," 1 Jan. 2021 Panels of the appeals court twice denied emergency orders that would have let Trump enforce the ban during the court proceedings. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Trump can bar immigrants who can’t afford health insurance, court rules," 31 Dec. 2020 One of the main reasons, Indian health officials say, is that the country has managed to encourage and enforce almost universal acceptance of masks without much debate. Eric Bellman, WSJ, "Covid-19 Was Consuming India, Until Nearly Everyone Started Wearing Masks," 30 Dec. 2020 When infections soared in the Daegu region in February and March, health authorities managed to contain the situation by April after aggressively mobilizing technological tools to trace contacts and enforce quarantines. Bloomberg.com, "After Early Success, South Korea Sleepwalks Into Virus Crisis," 26 Dec. 2020 Transportation Security Administration workers were granted the authority Sunday to enforce a CDC mask mandate for all public transit involving planes, trains and buses. Dallas News, "TSA to begin public transit mask enforcement on planes, trains and buses," 1 Feb. 2021 Second, demonstrate that the U.S. will honor and enforce past commitments. Ian Bremmer, Time, "The Key Foreign Policy Challenges Facing President Biden," 30 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enforce.' 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 enforce

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enforce

Middle English, from Anglo-French enforcer, from en- + force force

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Time Traveler for enforce

Time Traveler

The first known use of enforce was in the 14th century

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Statistics for enforce

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enforce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enforce. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for enforce



English Language Learners Definition of enforce

: to make (a law, rule, etc.) active or effective : to make sure that people do what is required by (a law, rule, etc.)
: to make (something) happen : to force or cause (something)


en·​force | \ in-ˈfȯrs How to pronounce enforce (audio) \
enforced; enforcing

Kids Definition of enforce

1 : to make happen He tried to enforce cooperation.
2 : to carry out or make effective enforce a law

Other Words from enforce

enforcement \ –mənt \ noun


transitive verb
enforced; enforcing

Legal Definition of enforce

: to cause to take effect or to be fulfilled enforcing the divorce decree Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislationU.S. Constitution amend. XIX

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