com·​pel·​ling | \ kəm-ˈpe-liŋ How to pronounce compelling (audio) \

Definition of compelling

: that compels: such as
a : forceful a compelling personality a compelling desire
b : demanding attention for compelling reasons The novel was so compelling that I couldn't put it down.
c : convincing no compelling evidence

Other Words from compelling

compellingly adverb

Examples of compelling in a Sentence

The novel was so compelling that I couldn't put it down. He made a compelling argument. I would need a very compelling reason to leave my job. She had a compelling need to share what she had heard.
Recent Examples on the Web Her slow burn toward redemption, and her plot to take down Cobra Kai from the inside, make Tory one of the season's most compelling characters. Andrew Walsh,, 20 Sep. 2022 Set in the 1820s in the West African kingdom of Dahomey, present-day Benin, the film balances ferocious action with intimate moments, creating compelling characters and bringing to life a complex and little-known time and place. Susan X Jane, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Sep. 2022 So many of today’s most compelling TV characters feel cursed by both circumstance and their own nature. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2022 The vision for Quarry Trails—and the state’s bet on consumer demand—is grounded in some of the most compelling evidence a city planner could hope for: prior use. Amelia Arvesen, Outside Online, 7 Sep. 2022 The scale of Rings of Power — developed by untested writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay — would feel empty without compelling characters at the middle of those lush pictures. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 31 Aug. 2022 Each shot is expertly crafted, and Jack Nicholson brilliantly plays one of the most compelling and terrifying lead characters in the history of the genre. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 30 Aug. 2022 Never mind that the feds would have had to show compelling evidence to get a judge to sign off on any warrant, let alone this one, or that the agents appear to have tried to be as unobtrusive as possible., 10 Aug. 2022 Like Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, an original screenplay slightly rejiggered into an IP spin-off, Prey is an original film with compelling characters but just enough IP seasoning to avoid allegations of mismarketing. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of compelling

1606, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for compelling

from present participle of compel

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Time Traveler for compelling

Time Traveler

The first known use of compelling was in 1606

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Statistics for compelling

Last Updated

24 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Compelling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for compelling



Legal Definition of compelling

: that compels : tending to demand action or to convince a compelling need for disclosure a compelling argument

More from Merriam-Webster on compelling

Nglish: Translation of compelling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of compelling for Arabic Speakers


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