From Middle English compellen, borrowed from Middle French compellir, from Latin compellere, itself from com- (“together”) + pellere (“to drive”). Displaced native Middle English fordriven ("to drive out, to lead to, to compel, to force"), from Old English fordrīfan. More at fordrive.
- (transitive, archaic, literally) To drive together, round up (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- (transitive) To overpower; to subdue.
- 1917, Upton Sinclair, chapter 16, in King Coal:
- She had one of those perfect faces, which irresistibly compel the soul of a man.
- (transitive) To force, constrain or coerce.
- Logic compels the wise, while fools feel compelled by emotions.
- (transitive) To exact, extort, (make) produce by force.
- 1613, William Shakespeare; [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
- Commissions, which compel from each / The sixth part of his substance.
- 1912, L. Frank Baum, chapter 14, in Sky Island:
- The Queen has nothing but the power to execute the laws, to adjust grievances and to compel order.
- (obsolete) To force to yield; to overpower; to subjugate.
- (obsolete) To gather or unite in a crowd or company.
- (obsolete) To call forth; to summon.
- [1611?], Homer, “Book V”, in Geo[rge] Chapman, transl., The Iliads of Homer Prince of Poets. […], London: […] Nathaniell Butter, OCLC 614803194; The Iliads of Homer, Prince of Poets, […], volume I, new edition, London: Charles Knight and Co., […], 1843, OCLC 987451361:
- the pow'rs that I compel
Shall throw thee hence, and make thy head run ope the gates of hel
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.