en·​force | \in-ˈfȯrs, 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, en-​ \ noun
enforceable \in-​ˈfȯr-​sə-​bəl, en-​ \ adjective
enforcement \in-​ˈfȯr-​smənt, 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

The company has policies in place to support and enforce this commitment. Aisha Al-muslim, WSJ, "Lam Research CEO Resigns Amid Misconduct Investigation," 5 Dec. 2018 However, internet access offered by most hotels in China also remains restricted by the firewall enforced by regulators, and many Western hotel chains have stopped offering VPNs for free. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "A WeChat-powered hotel in China lets you check in, enter your room, and get breakfast through your phone," 21 Nov. 2018 The impact of this underrepresentation is wide-reaching, from re-enforcing the gender wage-gap (currently women make about 84 cents on the dollar compared to men) to weakened potential for innovation to the outright benefits of social equality. Hans Aschim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Three Women in Science Who Broke the Glass Ceiling," 5 Oct. 2018 Although Nigeria’s northern states have long enforced sharia, or Islamic law, their interpretation was not strict enough for Yusuf. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 The city has not confirmed who would enforce the scooter regulations. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis scooters: What the proposed regulations could mean," 13 July 2018 You are advised that Bloomberg will aggressively enforce its rights to the fullest extent of the law. Bloomberg, "Terms of Service," 8 July 2018 Assistant City Manager Rod Sanchez said the habitat compliance forms are required under a city ordinance that was written with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a federal agency that enforces the Endangered Species Act. John Tedesco, San Antonio Express-News, "Northwest Side residents vent after acres of trees bulldozed in environmentally sensitive area," 6 July 2018 In a statement provided to the National Post, U.S. Border Patrol said its employees were properly enforcing immigration law. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Canadian Fisherman Say U.S. Border Patrol Is ‘Harassing’ Their Boats in Disputed Waters Off Maine," 5 July 2018

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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Statistics for enforce

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enforce

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

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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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on enforce

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enforce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enforce

Spanish Central: Translation of enforce

Nglish: Translation of enforce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enforce for Arabic Speakers

Comments on enforce

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


a nest or breeding place

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