Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To compel observance of or obedience to: enforce a law.
  • transitive v. To impose (a kind of behavior, for example): enforce military discipline.
  • transitive v. To give force to; reinforce: "enforces its plea with a description of the pains of hell” ( Albert C. Baugh).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Force; strength; power.
  • intransitive v. To attempt by force.
  • intransitive v. To prove; to evince.
  • intransitive v. To strengthen; to grow strong.
  • transitive v. To put force upon; to force; to constrain; to compel.
  • transitive v. To make or gain by force; to obtain by force.
  • transitive v. To put in motion or action by violence; to drive.
  • transitive v. To give force to; to strengthen; to invigorate; to urge with energy.
  • transitive v. To put in force; to cause to take effect; to give effect to; to execute with vigor.
  • transitive v. To urge; to ply hard; to lay much stress upon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To increase the force or strength of; make strong; strengthen; fortify.
  • To urge or impress with force or energy; make forcible, clear, or intelligible: as, to enforce remarks or arguments.
  • To gain or extort by force or compulsion; compel: as, to enforce obedience.
  • To put or keep in force; compel obedience to; cause to be executed or performed: as, to enforce laws or rules.
  • To discharge with force; hurl; throw.
  • To impel; constrain; force.
  • To press or urge, as with a charge.
  • To prove; evince.
  • To force; violate; ravish.
  • Reflexively, to strain one's self; put forth one's greatest exertion.
  • Synonyms Extort, etc. See exact, v. t.
  • To grow strong; become fierce or active; increase.
  • To strive; exert one's self.
  • To make headway.
  • n. Force; strength; power.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. compel to behave in a certain way
  • v. ensure observance of laws and rules

Etymologies

Middle English enforcen, from Old French enforcier, to exert force, compel, and from enforcir, to strengthen : en-, causative pref.; see en-1 + force, strength; see force.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French enforcier, from Late Latin infortiāre, from in- + fortis ("strong"). (Wiktionary)

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