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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a compelling reason (=a very good reason for doing something)
▪ There are compelling reasons to believe that this is true.
convincing/compelling (=making you feel sure that something is true)
▪ The data provides compelling evidence that the climate is changing.
▪ The road to depression Even so, parallels with the 1930s are far more compelling now than they were in 1987.
▪ It did not seem odd to him that the subway held more compelling things than the famous city above.
▪ The further capitalism developed the more compelling the Marxist analysis became.
▪ But families believe in their myths for reasons more compelling than respect for the versatility of metaphor.
▪ This attitude is part and parcel of the disease and the more advanced the illness, the more compelling it may become.
▪ The most compelling lesson of this marathon legal affair is that truth is no shining city on a hill.
▪ Which brings us to the most compelling detail in this stunt: the romantic disguise the virus wore.
▪ Historically, the most compelling idea concerning meaning has been that meaning is some sort of entity or thing.
▪ Nicolas Werth's excellent 235 pages on cycles of violence in the Soviet Union is the most compelling section of the book.
▪ C., are the most compelling parts of his journey.
▪ When an Olympic event incorporates brawling with the paparazzi into its most compelling moments, something has gone horribly wrong.
▪ As Romantic drama evolves, the pariah soon becomes the most compelling of characters.
▪ It is this potency that makes him so compelling a figure.
▪ Relatively few sites are so compelling that Web surfers make it a point to visit every day.
▪ It was so compelling for them that no one even asked for a bathroom stop.
▪ The conclusion of an argument is compelling only if its premises are accepted.
▪ Once again, he shuffled the recalcitrant deck, smiling too broadly, compelling their attention.
▪ Movement compels attention, and the use of colour and sound heightens reality.
▪ He evidently found the new idiom interestingly problematic, but not attractive enough to compel his full attention.
▪ Will the courts compel individuals to provide their passwords?
▪ Prosecutors, grand jurors, marshals and court stenographers are legally compelled not to reveal what happens in the grand jury room.
▪ If violations can not be satisfactorily resolved, the U. S. Department of Labor may bring action in court to compel compliance.
▪ Taken together, they are fairly compelling evidence of prejudice.
▪ But perhaps the most vivid and compelling evidence of this highly developed colour sensibility is the artefacts themselves.
▪ Ten soldiers had not been compelled to give evidence and had indicated they would not attend the inquest.
▪ However, the officer in charge of the investigation said it was the only way to gather compelling evidence.
▪ Barring a compelling reason, governments should not discriminate between classes of citizens.
▪ The market economy at its best has certain biases and shortcomings which compel government to supplement and modify its operation.
▪ Some analysts said the fall of Shaba could compel the government to negotiate with the rebels.
▪ For a discussion of whether an expert can be compelled to give reasons for his decision, see 13.7.8.
▪ But there are a number of compelling reasons to stand in line.
▪ This case also established the important principle that issues 13.7.8 Reasons Can the expert be compelled to produce reasons for his decision?
▪ He was energetic, headstrong, and unorthodox-and he had compelling reasons for reducing the ruinously expensive Soviet nuclear arsenal.
▪ Barring a compelling reason, governments should not discriminate between classes of citizens.
▪ In the spring of 1978, it was dusted off for a more compelling reason, namely domestic politics.
▪ Thus the question becomes: is there a compelling reason to bar homosexuals from marriage?
▪ This is the single compelling reason to be speaking of diseases / disorders.
▪ Even Mr Lukashenko, like Mr Milosevic before him, feels compelled to feign democracy.
▪ Even Massachusetts felt compelled to expel many free blacks.
▪ Reading him like this, so stripped of context, you no longer feel compelled to read the poems as a student.
▪ So, of course, I felt compelled to look.
▪ His lips trembled, and he felt strangely compelled to shout a defiant slogan.
▪ Reno apparently felt compelled to deny not just that she was a lesbian, but that she had any sexuality at all.
▪ I share this hesitation; but I also feel compelled to face reality.
▪ Why was it that Miguel felt compelled to somehow break with Spider on amicable terms?
▪ Mark Winston in Nature Wars provides a compelling account of why this has happened.
▪ And they actually provide some compelling answers.
compelling need/desire/urge (to do sth)
▪ And it was from these experiments that Work place 2000 emerged as the response to a compelling need for change.
▪ Most women with bulimia, particularly those with a history of anorexia, have a compelling desire to be thinner.
▪ Such freedoms can be abridged only if the state shows it has a compelling need to do so.
▪ Suddenly I had a compelling urge to look at Wilkerson.
compelling reason/argument/case etc
▪ Barring a compelling reason, governments should not discriminate between classes of citizens.
▪ But there are a number of compelling reasons to stand in line.
▪ But, in any event, there is no compelling reason to justify section 9.
▪ He was energetic, headstrong, and unorthodox-and he had compelling reasons for reducing the ruinously expensive Soviet nuclear arsenal.
▪ However, it is necessary to say a word or two here to refute this seemingly compelling argument.
▪ In the high-visibility, emotionally compelling cases such as maternity stays, an uproar resulted.
▪ The record is good but there is no compelling reason to buy.
▪ Unless there are other compelling reasons, therefore, never borrow money yourself to obtain funds needed by your corporation.
make (for) interesting/fascinating/compelling etc reading
▪ A glance at the provisions of the Convention makes interesting reading.
▪ He also has a collection of Rentokil news letters going back to his early days which made for fascinating reading after dinner.
▪ His observations may make interesting reading.
▪ In the context of the £33 million earmarked for 20 City Technology Colleges, that figure makes interesting reading.
▪ Its Report was published in 1867 and makes fascinating reading.
▪ The guidance, when it appears, should make interesting reading.
▪ The report I commissioned on you makes for interesting reading.
▪ This, unlike the first one, makes interesting reading, and is referred to continually.
▪ All the young men in the area were compelled to work in the quarries and coal mines.
▪ Chang's performance compels attention.
▪ The attorney general has the right to compel witnesses to appear in court.
▪ Christians had been compelled to give up meetings for corporate worship, but still kept up small prayer meetings in houses.
▪ Force is the precondition for compelling the majority of people to accept this pretension.
▪ He takes border stereotypes and presents them in interesting and compelling ways.
▪ I think every guy who can scribble slightly better than he dribbles has felt compelled to share the same old tale.
▪ It is also a satisfying behind-the-scenes tour for foodies, full of compelling characters and anecdotes.
▪ So there was a compelling push for change in science.
▪ The ombudsman will have power to recommend that a lawyer or professional body pay compensation, but not to compel payment.
▪ The other compelling element of this marine encounter is the sheer physical and imaginative space that such a gathering entails.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Compel \Com*pel"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Compelled; p. pr. & vb. n. Compelling.] [L. compellere, compulsum, to drive together, to compel, urge; com- + pellere to drive: cf. OF. compellir. See Pulse.]

  1. To drive or urge with force, or irresistibly; to force; to constrain; to oblige; to necessitate, either by physical or moral force.

    Wolsey . . . compelled the people to pay up the whole subsidy at once.

    And they compel one Simon . . . to bear his cross.
    --Mark xv. 21.

  2. To take by force or violence; to seize; to exact; to extort. [R.]

    Commissions, which compel from each The sixth part of his substance.

  3. To force to yield; to overpower; to subjugate.

    Easy sleep their weary limbs compelled.

    I compel all creatures to my will.

  4. To gather or unite in a crowd or company. [A Latinism] ``In one troop compelled.''

  5. To call forth; to summon. [Obs.]

    She had this knight from far compelled.

    Syn: To force; constrain; oblige; necessitate; coerce. See Coerce.


Compel \Com*pel"\, v. i. To make one yield or submit. ``If she can not entreat, I can compel.''

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c., from Old French compellir, from Latin compellere "to drive together, drive to one place" (of cattle), "to force or compel" (of persons), from com- "together" (see com-) + pellere "to drive" (see pulse (n.1)). Related: Compelled; compelling.


vb. 1 (context transitive archaic literally English) To drive together, round up (rfex) 2 (context transitive English) To overpower; to subdue. 3 (context transitive English) To force, constrain or coerce. 4 (context transitive English) To exact, extort, (make) produce by force. 5 (context obsolete English) To force to yield; to overpower; to subjugate. 6 (context obsolete English) To gather or unite in a crowd or company. 7 (context obsolete English) To call forth; to summon.

  1. v. force or compel somebody to do something; "We compel all students to fill out this form" [syn: oblige, obligate]

  2. make someone do something [syn: command, require]

  3. [also: compelling, compelled]

Usage examples of "compel".

Bremer was so concerned by the tone of the aardwolf that he felt compelled to write an accompanying note at the end of the report, in which he downplayed its analysis of the worsening conditions in Iraq.

House, in judging of elections under this clause acts as a judicial tribunal, with like power to compel attendance of witnesses.

Even though he would soon face charges for the murder of Haruki Ikegami and the Bojinka plot, not to mention the original Trade Center bombing, Yousef seemed compelled to regale the agents with his accomplishments.

He sails from Brundusium to Greece 243 He besieges Pompey at Dyrrhachium 244 Is compelled to retire 241 Battle of Pharsalia, and defeat of Pompey 244 Pompey flies to Egypt 245 His death 245 Caesar is appointed Dictator a second time 245 The Alexandrine War 245 47.

When we happened to find those places already tenanted by other men, we forced them by violence to quit the premises, and defrauded the miserable victims of prostitution of the mean salary the law allows them, after compelling them to yield to our brutality.

The amphicyon glared in helpless rage at the small human sitting high above it, the human that was forcing, bending, compelling.

He would have loved to have breakfast and hot coffee, but he felt compelled to seek out Laird and perhaps, if his hunches were correct, even catch Lucking and Barker at the museum unloading their last shipment of Anasazi artifacts before the pair headed east into a winter hiding.

Querini was foolish enough to enquire from me whether I had kept on my breeches, and as I answered that I had been compelled to lend them to Juliette, he looked very unhappy, sat down in a corner of the room, and refused to dance.

It was during this truce that the best-known events of Dutch history occurred--the Synod of Dort, the suppression of the Republicans and Arminians by Maurice of Nassau, when he put Olden Barnevelt to death, and compelled the most illustrious of all Dutchmen, Grotius, to make his escape packed in a box of books.

Surely truces, without even an arriere pensee of difference of opinion, between those who are compelled to take widely different sides during the greater part of their lives, must be of infinite service to those who can enter on them.

Captain, addressing Bill, who, one is compelled to admit, was giving a rather close impersonation of such a bird in articulo mortis.

Both Christie and Bullen were compelled to assist in paddling, as well as to labor at the most menial tasks when in camp, receiving as a recompense only kicks and blows.

Already they have been compelled by that mysterious power to suppress the slave-making wars which were formerly waged every year from Kordofan and Sennaar, and which are still being waged from the independent kingdoms of Darfur, Waday, Bagirmi, and Bornu.

When she learned that the baron was about to bring home a mistress, she had been moved to great emotion, believing that she must yield the sceptre of the household and abdicate in favor of the Baronne du Guenic, whose subject she was now compelled to be.

He went fast, knowing that his careful battle line would be shredded by the oaks, but also knowing that any chance of finding an open Yankee flank was too compelling to be ignored.