[ kuhm-puhl-siv ]
See synonyms for compulsive on
  1. compelling; compulsory.

  2. Psychology.

    • pertaining to, characterized by, or involving compulsion: a compulsive desire to cry.

    • governed by an obsessive need to conform, be scrupulous, etc., coupled with an inability to express positive emotions.

  1. Psychology. a person whose behavior is governed by a compulsion.

Origin of compulsive

First recorded in 1595–1605; obsolete compulse, verb (from Latin compuls(us), past participle of compellere; see compulsion) + -ive

Other words from compulsive

  • com·pul·sive·ly, adverb
  • com·pul·sive·ness, com·pul·siv·i·ty [kuhm-puhl-siv-i-tee, kom-puhl-], /kəm pʌlˈsɪv ɪ ti, ˌkɒm pʌl-/, noun
  • non·com·pul·sive, adjective
  • non·com·pul·sive·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-com·pul·sive, adjective
  • qua·si-com·pul·sive·ly, adverb
  • un·com·pul·sive, adjective
  • un·com·pul·sive·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with compulsive

Words Nearby compulsive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use compulsive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for compulsive


/ (kəmˈpʌlsɪv) /

  1. relating to or involving compulsion

  1. psychiatry an individual who is subject to a psychological compulsion

Derived forms of compulsive

  • compulsively, adverb
  • compulsiveness, noun

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