Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (kō-ûr′zhən, -shən)
1. The act or practice of coercing.
2. Power or ability to coerce.

co·er′cion·ar′y (-zhə-nĕr′ē, -shə-) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act or power of coercing
2. government by force
coˈercionist n
coercive adj
coˈercively adv
coˈerciveness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(koʊˈɜr ʃən)

1. the act of coercing.
2. force or the power to use force.
co•er′cion•ist, n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



(See also EXTORTION.)

force [someone’s] hand To pressure someone into taking a stand or revealing his beliefs or intentions; to compel someone to act immediately and against his will. In print since the mid-19th century, this expression perhaps derives from card games in which one player forces another to play a particular card and thereby reveal the contents of his hand. Another possible theory is that force [someone’s] hand is like twist [someone’s] arm, suggesting that the present figurative use derives from actual physical force.

knobstick wedding The forced marriage of a pregnant, unwed woman; a shotgun wedding. Churchwardens (lay officers who dealt with the secular affairs of the church and who were the legal representatives of the parish) formerly used their authority to ensure such marriages. The term knobstick ‘a knobbed stick, cane, or club used chiefly as a weapon’ refers to the churchwarden’s staff, the symbol of his office, used as an instrument of coercion, or cudgel.

put the screws to To compel action by exercise of coercion, pressure, extortion, blackmail, etc. The expression derives from an early method of torture involving the use of thumbscrews to extract confessions.

put the squeeze on To pressure another for one’s own purposes; to demand payment or performance by means of harassment or threats.

She hired me to put the squeeze on Linda for a divorce. (Raymond Chandler, High Window, 1942)

shotgun wedding Any union, compromise, agreement, etc., brought about by necessity or threat; originally a wedding necessitated or hastened by the bride-to-be’s pregnancy, a forced marriage; also shotgun marriage. The allusion is to an irate father attempting to protect his daughter’s reputation by using a shotgun to threaten the man responsible for her condition into marrying her. Use of the expression dates from at least 1927.

Werdel … characterized the Brannan plan as a “shotgun wedding between agriculture and labor.” (California Citrograph, January, 1950)

when push comes to shove See EXACERBATION.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.coercion - the act of compelling by force of authority
terror - the use of extreme fear in order to coerce people (especially for political reasons); "he used terror to make them confess"
enforcement - the act of enforcing; ensuring observance of or obedience to
2.coercion - using force to cause something to occur; "though pressed into rugby under compulsion I began to enjoy the game"; "they didn't have to use coercion"
causation, causing - the act of causing something to happen
constructive eviction, eviction - action by a landlord that compels a tenant to leave the premises (as by rendering the premises unfit for occupancy); no physical expulsion or legal process is involved
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun force, pressure, threats, bullying, constraint, intimidation, compulsion, duress, browbeating, strong-arm tactics (informal) It was vital that the elections should be free of coercion or intimidation.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


Power used to overcome resistance:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
إِكْراه، إِجْبار، قَسْـر
valdbeiting, nauîung


[kəʊˈɜːʃən] Ncoacción f
under coercionobligado a ello, a la fuerza
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[kəʊˈɜːrʃən] ncontrainte f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nZwang m; (Jur) → Nötigung f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[kəʊˈɜːʃn] nforza (Law) → coercizione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(kəuˈəːs) verb
to force (a person into doing something).
coˈercion (-ʃən) noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
This penalty, whatever it may be, can only be inflicted in two ways: by the agency of the courts and ministers of justice, or by military force; by the COERCION of the magistracy, or by the COERCION of arms.
It is pleasant to know that a new ministry just come into office are not the only fellow-men who enjoy a period of high appreciation and full-blown eulogy; in many respectable families throughout this realm, relatives becoming creditable meet with a similar cordiality of recognition, which in its fine freedom from the coercion of any antecedents, suggests the hopeful possibility that we may some day without any notice find ourselves in full millennium, with cockatrices who have ceased to bite, and wolves that no longer show their teeth with any but the blandest intentions.
There is a terrible coercion in our deeds, which may first turn the honest man into a deceiver and then reconcile him to the change, for this reason--that the second wrong presents itself to him in the guise of the only practicable right.
In the submissive way of one long accustomed to obey under coercion, he ate and drank what they gave him to eat and drink, and put on the cloak and other wrappings, that they gave him to wear.
I had known, from the time when I could speak, that my sister, in her capricious and violent coercion, was unjust to me.
The intensity of her religious disposition, the coercion it exercised over her life, was but one aspect of a nature altogether ardent, theoretic, and intellectually consequent: and with such a nature struggling in the bands of a narrow teaching, hemmed in by a social life which seemed nothing but a labyrinth of petty courses, a walled-in maze of small paths that led no whither, the outcome was sure to strike others as at once exaggeration and inconsistency.
"I overcame the extreme reluctance of the natives--a reluctance which extends even to talk upon the subject--and by judicious persuasion and gifts, aided, I will admit, by some threats of coercion, I got two of them to act as guides.
I will not have it cast in my teeth, at some future day, that Madame Fosco acted under my coercion, and was, in plain fact, no witness at all.
While you looked so, I should be certain that whatever charter you might grant under coercion, your first act, when released, would be to violate its conditions."
Wherefore when Kim, aching in every bone, opened his eyes, and would go to the cook-house to get his master's food, he found strong coercion about him, and a veiled old figure at the door, flanked by the grizzled manservant, who told him very precisely the things that he was on no account to do.
Had he fallen back on threats, coercion, sneers, all might have been different even yet.
A variation of this study would be to compare the utility of nuclear coercion for conventionally weak and conventionally strong states, since for a conventionally weak state (for example, North Korea) nuclear weapons may not be redundant.