compulsion

[ kuh m-puhl-shuh n ]
/ kəmˈpʌl ʃən /

noun

the act of compelling; constraint; coercion.
the state or condition of being compelled.
Psychology. a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational or contrary to one's will.

Origin of compulsion

1375–1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin compulsiōn- (stem of compulsiō), equivalent to Latin compuls(us), past participle of compellere to compel (com- com- + pul- variant stem + -sus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion

Related forms

non·com·pul·sion, nounpre·com·pul·sion, noun

Can be confused

compulsion compunction
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for compulsion

British Dictionary definitions for compulsion

compulsion

/ (kəmˈpʌlʃən) /

noun

the act of compelling or the state of being compelled
something that compels
psychiatry an inner drive that causes a person to perform actions, often of a trivial and repetitive nature, against his or her willSee also obsession

Word Origin for compulsion

C15: from Old French, from Latin compellere to compel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for compulsion

compulsion

[ kəm-pŭlshən ]

n.

An uncontrollable impulse to perform an act, often repetitively, as an unconscious mechanism to avoid unacceptable ideas and desires which, by themselves, arouse anxiety.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for compulsion

compulsion

In psychology, an internal force that leads persons to act against their will. A “compulsive” act cannot be controlled: “Smith was a compulsive gambler.”


The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.