Words related to coerce


in Latin, the form of com- "together, with" in compounds with stems beginning in vowels, h-, and gn-; see com-. Taken in English from 17c. as a living prefix meaning "together, mutually, in common," and used promiscuously with native words (co-worker) and Latin-derived words not beginning with vowels (codependent), including some already having it (co-conspirator).

arcane (adj.)

"hidden, secret," 1540s, from Latin arcanus "secret, hidden, private, concealed," from arcere "to close up, enclose, contain," from arca "chest, box, place for safe-keeping," from PIE root *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (source also of Greek arkos "defense," arkein "to ward off;" Armenian argel "obstacle;" Lithuanian raktas "key," rakinti "to shut, lock").

coercion (n.)

early 15c., cohercioun, "compulsion, forcible constraint," from Old French cohercion (Modern French coercion), from Medieval Latin coercionem, from Latin coerctionem, earlier coercitionem, noun of action from past-participle stem of coercere "to control, restrain" (see coerce).

It defies the usual pattern where Middle English -cion reverts to Latin type and becomes -tion. Specific sense in reference to government by force, ostensibly to suppress disorder, emerged from 19c. British policies in Ireland. "As the word has had, in later times, a bad flavour, suggesting the application of force as a remedy, or its employment against the general sense of the community, it is now usually avoided by those who approve of the action in question" [OED].

coercive (adj.)

"having powers to coerce," c. 1600, from coerce + -ive. Form coercitive (attested from 1630s) is more true to Latin but less frequent in use.