Synonym Chooser

How does the verb impel differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of impel are actuate, drive, and move. While all these words mean "to set or keep in motion," impel is usually figurative and suggests a great motivating impetus.

a candidate impelled by ambition

When is it sensible to use actuate instead of impel?

The synonyms actuate and impel are sometimes interchangeable, but actuate stresses transmission of power so as to work or set in motion.

turbines actuated by waterpower

When is drive a more appropriate choice than impel?

Although the words drive and impel have much in common, drive implies imparting forward and continuous motion and often stresses the effect rather than the impetus.

a ship driven aground by hurricane winds

When would move be a good substitute for impel?

The words move and impel can be used in similar contexts, but move is very general and implies no more than the fact of changing position.

moved the furniture

Thesaurus Entries Near impel

Cite this Entry

“Impel.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/impel. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on impel

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!