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 enforceability (audio) , en-​ \ noun
enforceable \ in-​ˈfȯr-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce enforceable (audio) , en-​ \ adjective
enforcement \ in-​ˈfȯr-​smənt How to pronounce enforcement (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 Asserting the constitutional rights of Pashtun people, the movement has organized protests against the government to demand accountability for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and casualties from land mines. Zulfiqar Ali, Los Angeles Times, "Pakistan arrests Pashtun rights leader critical of military," 27 Jan. 2020 The defense, however, argued that the United States alleges a violation of sanctions that do not exist in Canada, and thus should not be enforced by Canada. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Canadian judge weighing whether to extradite Huawei's Meng Wanzhou to United States," 23 Jan. 2020 Suing somebody in a foreign country involves hiring a local lawyer, litigating the suit, and enforcing the judgement—all expensive and mysterious processes. Harry Guinness, Popular Science, "Keep your photos from getting stolen on the internet," 15 Jan. 2020 As a member state, Britain was bound by strict state aid rules enforced by the powerful European Commission to make sure there is no unfair competition among nations inside the EU's vast single market. Fox News, "British lawmakers approve Johnson's Brexit bill, clearing path for Jan. 31 EU departure," 9 Jan. 2020 Sometimes it’s enforced by city governments like New York’s that give hundreds of millions of dollars to museums, own museum buildings and land, or, in the case of Los Angeles and San Francisco, own the local civic museums kit and caboodle. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art Tends for 2020: The Big Apple Is Not So Big in the Art World Anymore," 4 Jan. 2020 The regulations would be enforced by the Sheriff’s Office. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, "Seminole allows golf carts on county roads within approved neighborhoods," 12 Dec. 2019 These disappearances are enforced by the Memory Police, a fascist squad that sweeps through the island, ransacking houses to confiscate lingering evidence of what’s been forgotten. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "How “The Memory Police” Makes You See," 6 Nov. 2019 Their impressive degree of stability is enforced by the approximate conservation of energy and angular momentum. Frank Wilczek, Scientific American, "The Exquisite Precision of Time Crystals," 16 Oct. 2019

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

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enforce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enforce. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for enforce


How to pronounce enforce (audio)

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
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enforce

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enforce

Spanish Central: Translation of enforce

Nglish: Translation of enforce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enforce for Arabic Speakers

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