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

  • transitive v. To urge to action through moral pressure; drive: I was impelled by events to take a stand.
  • transitive v. To drive forward; propel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To urge a person; to press on; to incite to action or motion via intrinsic motivation. (contrast with propel, to compel or drive extrinsically)
  • v. To drive forward; to propel an object.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To drive or urge forward or on; to press on; to incite to action or motion in any way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To drive or urge forward; press on; incite or constrain to action in any way: as, steam is the impelling force of a locomotive.
  • Synonyms Prompt, Induce, etc. (see actuate); to influence, push on, force on, move, lead, set on. (See list under incite.)

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

  • v. cause to move forward with force
  • v. urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate


Middle English impellen, from Latin impellere : in-, against; + pellere, to drive.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin impell┼Ź (Wiktionary)



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