Definition of enforce in English:



[with object]
  • 1Compel observance of or compliance with (a law, rule, or obligation)

    ‘the role of the police is to enforce the law’
    • ‘Far harder to deliver these promises and for external agencies to monitor and enforce them.’
    • ‘And how the Supreme Court decides them will be a telling indicator of its commitment to enforcing the rule of law.’
    • ‘First, the Attorney General enforces the law, both criminal and civil.’
    • ‘Strict liability offences are only necessary if there is no other means of achieving the ends of protecting the public and enforcing the law.’
    • ‘The commissioner is responsible for enforcing the law regarding data protection and freedom of information’
    • ‘The Legislature has yet to fund a task force charged with enforcing the act.’
    • ‘There are also provisions that create statutory obligations to enforce the Act.’
    • ‘A judge has to enforce the law that is made by Parliament or made under the authority of Parliament.’
    • ‘Before long, traffic cops would have to start enforcing the minimum speed requirement.’
    • ‘Jurisdiction to enforce laws relating to dumping follows the same pattern.’
    • ‘The policy calls for all police to strictly enforce the laws and arrest all drug dealers.’
    • ‘Damages were being sought for compensation as a result of the council's negligent advice and not primarily to enforce a public law right.’
    • ‘It is one thing to say that the powers of the civil courts can be invoked to enforce the criminal law.’
    • ‘Schools must be responsible when awarding these contracts for enforcing the conditions in the tender agreements.’
    • ‘These contracts make explicit the duty parents have to impose boundaries and enforce discipline.’
    • ‘The way in which the police maintained order and enforced the law was itself supposed to be governed by legalistic procedures and constraints.’
    • ‘Their duty and responsibility are to enforce the laws, to investigate, and to prosecute…’
    • ‘The letter then went on to give instances in which the government authorities enforced the rule of law.’
    • ‘Just as predictably, he insisted that prosecutors and police were only enforcing the law.’
    • ‘Both criminal and civil laws are enforced by a national police force.’
    impose, apply, carry out, administer, implement, bring to bear, discharge, fulfil, execute, prosecute
    force, compel, exact, extort, demand, insist on, require, necessitate
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    1. 1.1 Cause (something) to happen by necessity or force.
      ‘there is no outside agency to enforce cooperation between the players’
      • ‘This is in contrast to enforcing ethical norms, which is a matter all officials must be concerned about.’
      • ‘The alliance spokesperson also warns the council that enforcing their anti-bonfire directive could force people into burning refuse in their fireplaces.’
      • ‘Perhaps the time has come to take this a step further, by enforcing compulsory contributions on both employers and employees.’
      • ‘The good news is that most political forces are willing to enforce the changes.’
      • ‘He was apparently the only reporter in the city when U.S. forces were enforcing a crippling siege.’
      • ‘Is the Assembly powerful enough to enforce a political solution outside the limits of the Constitution?’
      • ‘If you are an employee, partner, affiliate or legal representative of any site which enforces compulsory user registration then we require you to complete our registration process.’
      • ‘I was sure that theme nights had some built-in stipulation enforcing dressing up, but alas I have to say I was related to everyone who made an effort.’
      • ‘The teenager's death prompted Stanwell residents to join forces to try to enforce a new traffic calming scheme in Long Lane.’
      • ‘In addition, some problems arise beyond the control of banks, such as difficulties with the legal system enforcing loan contracts and compensation.’
      • ‘He said yesterday that the problem would not be solved until a worldwide body was able to enforce the necessary changes.’
      • ‘On Thursday, word got around that either the local or federal government was about to begin enforcing the mandatory evacuation.’
      • ‘He also agreed to make it easier for farmers to appeal against Government officials entering their farms or enforcing a compulsory vaccination or slaughter policy.’
      • ‘It's been a force for enforcing peace.’
      • ‘While there are businesses that enforce mandatory retirement, I don't know much about them.’
      • ‘Mainstream politicians are agreed that enforcing this regime is necessary to keep all chief executives happy.’
      compulsory, obligatory, mandatory, involuntary, forced, exacted, coerced, imposed, demanded, required, requisite, stipulated, contractual, binding, necessitated, necessary, unavoidable, inescapable, obliged, impelled, constrained, dictated, ordained, prescribed
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2archaic Press home (a demand or argument)
      ‘my father spoke like a preacher enforcing a precept of religion’
      • ‘He had observed their altar dedicated to an unknown God; he knew their vague and imperfect notions of the Creator; and he enforced his argument by showing that these Stoic authors had written better than they knew.’
      • ‘The argument only enforced his strong will and I knew he hated me.’
      • ‘He enforced his argument by adding details.’
      • ‘Nor is it just a question of enforcing one demand.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘strive’ and ‘impel by force’; formerly also as inforce): from Old French enforcir, enforcier, based on Latin in- ‘in’ + fortis ‘strong’.