verb ex·pel \ ik-ˈspel \
|Updated on: 8 Aug 2018

Definition of expel

expelled; expelling
1 : to force out : eject
  • expelled the smoke from her lungs
2 : to force to leave (a place, an organization, etc.) by official action : take away rights or privileges of membership
  • was expelled from college


play \ik-ˈspe-lə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of expel in a Sentence

  1. The club may expel members who do not follow the rules.

  2. She was expelled from school for bad behavior.

  3. expel air from the lungs

Recent Examples of expel from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

To expel is to drive out, and its usual noun is expulsion. Expel is similar to eject, but expel suggests pushing out while eject suggests throwing out. Also, ejecting may only be temporary: the player ejected from a game may be back tomorrow, but the student expelled from school is probably out forever.

Origin and Etymology of expel

Middle English expellen, from Latin expellere, from ex- + pellere to drive — more at felt

expel Synonyms


inbreathe, inhale, inspire;

Related Words


Synonym Discussion of expel

eject, expel, oust, evict mean to drive or force out. eject carries an especially strong implication of throwing or thrusting out from within as a physical action.
    • ejected an obnoxious patron from the bar
expel stresses a thrusting out or driving away especially permanently which need not be physical.
    • a student expelled from college
oust implies removal or dispossession by power of the law or by force or compulsion.
    • police ousted the squatters
evict chiefly applies to turning out of house and home.
    • evicted for nonpayment of rent

EXPEL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of expel for English Language Learners

  • : to officially force (someone) to leave a place or organization

  • : to push or force (something) out

EXPEL Defined for Kids


verb ex·pel \ ik-ˈspel \

Definition of expel for Students

expelled; expelling
1 : to force to leave
  • He was expelled from school.
2 : to force out
  • expel air from lungs

Word Root of expel

The Latin word pellere, meaning “to cause to move” or “to drive,” gives us the root pel. Words from the Latin pellere have something to do with driving or causing something to move. To propel is to drive forward. To compel is to drive someone to do something. To expel is to drive out. To repel is to drive back or away.

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resembling the blue of the sky

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