Synonym Chooser

How is the word compel different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of compel are coerce, constrain, force, and oblige. While all these words mean "to make someone or something yield," compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force.

compelled to admit my mistake

When might coerce be a better fit than compel?

Although the words coerce and compel have much in common, coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure.

coerced into signing over the rights

When is it sensible to use constrain instead of compel?

While the synonyms constrain and compel are close in meaning, constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice.

constrained by conscience

When could force be used to replace compel?

In some situations, the words force and compel are roughly equivalent. However, force is the general term and implies the overcoming of resistance by the exertion of strength, power, or duress.

forced to flee for their lives

When is oblige a more appropriate choice than compel?

The words oblige and compel can be used in similar contexts, but oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty.

felt obliged to go

Thesaurus Entries Near compel

Cite this Entry

“Compel.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on compel

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