From Middle English impellen, borrowed from Latin impellō.



impel (third-person singular simple present impels, present participle impelling, simple past and past participle impelled)

  1. (transitive) To urge a person; to press on; to incite to action or motion via intrinsic motivation.
    Antonym: propel (to compel or drive extrinsically)
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in The Mirror and the Lamp[1]:
      She was a fat, round little woman, richly apparelled in velvet and lace, […]; and the way she laughed, cackling like a hen, the way she talked to the waiters and the maid, […]—all these unexpected phenomena impelled one to hysterical mirth, and made one class her with such immortally ludicrous types as Ally Sloper, the Widow Twankey, or Miss Moucher.
  2. (transitive) To drive forward; to propel an object, to provide an impetus for motion or action.
    Synonym: propel


Related termsEdit