Coerce Co*erce", v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Coerced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Coercing}.] [L. co["e]rcere; co- + arcere to shut up, to press together. See {Ark}.] 1. To restrain by force, especially by law or authority; to repress; to curb. --Burke. [1913 Webster]

Punishments are manifold, that they may coerce this profligate sort. --Ayliffe. [1913 Webster]

2. To compel or constrain to any action; as, to coerce a man to vote for a certain candidate. [1913 Webster]

3. To compel or enforce; as, to coerce obedience.

Syn: To {Coerce}, {Compel}.

Usage: To compel denotes to urge on by force which cannot be resisted. The term aplies equally to physical and moral force; as, compelled by hunger; compelled adverse circumstances; compelled by parental affection. Coerce had at first only the negative sense of checking or restraining by force; as, to coerce a bad man by punishments or a prisoner with fetters. It has now gained a positive sense., viz., that of driving a person into the performance of some act which is required of him by another; as, to coerce a man to sign a contract; to coerce obedience. In this sense (which is now the prevailing one), coerce differs but little from compel, and yet there is a distinction between them. Coercion is usually acomplished by indirect means, as threats and intimidation, physical force being more rarely employed in coercing. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • coerce — co·erce /kō ərs/ vt co·erced, co·erc·ing: to subject (a person) to coercion compare importune, solicit Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • coerce — mid 15c., cohercen, from M.Fr. cohercer, from L. coercere to control, restrain, shut up together, from com together (see CO (Cf. co )) + arcere to enclose, confine, contain, ward off, from PIE *ark to hold, contain, guard (see ARCANE (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • coerce — compel, *force, constrain, oblige Analogous words: *intimidate, bulldoze, bully, browbeat, cow: *threaten, menace: drive, impel (see MOVE): terrorize (see FRIGHTEN) Contrasted words: *induce, persuade, prevail, get: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • coerce — [v] compel, press beset, browbeat, bulldoze*, bully, concuss, constrain, cow, dragoon, drive, force, high pressure*, hinder, impel, intimidate, lean on, make, make an offer they can’t refuse*, menace, oblige, pressurize, push, put the squeeze on* …   New thesaurus

  • coerce — ► VERB ▪ persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats. DERIVATIVES coercion noun coercive adjective. ORIGIN Latin coercere restrain …   English terms dictionary

  • coerce — [kō ʉrs′] vt. coerced, coercing [ME cohercen < OFr cohercier < L coercere, to surround, restrain < co , together + arcere, to confine: see EXERCISE] 1. to restrain or constrain by force, esp. by legal authority; curb 2. to force or… …   English World dictionary

  • coerce — v. 1) (D; tr.) to coerce into (to coerce smb. into doing smt.) 2) (H) (rare) he was coerced to sign * * * [kəʊ ɜːs] (H) (rare) he was coerced to sign (D; tr.) to coerce into (to coerce smb. into doing smt.) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • coerce — transitive verb (coerced; coercing) Etymology: Middle English cohercen, from Anglo French *cohercer Latin coercēre, from co + arcēre to shut up, enclose more at ark Date: 15th century 1. to restrain or dominate by force …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • coerce — [[t]koʊɜ͟ː(r)s[/t]] coerces, coercing, coerced VERB If you coerce someone into doing something, you make them do it, although they do not want to. [FORMAL] [V n into ing/n] Potter had argued that the government coerced him into pleading guilty …   English dictionary

  • coerce — UK [kəʊˈɜː(r)s] / US [koʊˈɜrs] verb [transitive] Word forms coerce : present tense I/you/we/they coerce he/she/it coerces present participle coercing past tense coerced past participle coerced to make someone do something by using force or… …   English dictionary

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