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tr.v. com·pelled, com·pel·ling, com·pels
1. To force (a person) to do something; drive or constrain: The court compelled the company to pay full restitution. My conscience compels me to speak out. See Synonyms at force.
2. To necessitate or require, as by force of circumstance; demand: Growing riots compelled the evacuation of the embassy.
3. To exert a strong, irresistible force on; sway: "The land, in a certain, very real way, compels the minds of the people" (Barry Lopez).
[Middle English compellen, from Latin compellere : com-, com- + pellere, to drive; see pel- in Indo-European roots.]
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.