- 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.
Psychology. a person whose behavior is governed by a compulsion.
Origin of compulsive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
relating to or involving compulsion
psychiatry an individual who is subject to a psychological compulsion
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
c.1600, from French compulsif, from Latin compulsus, past participle of compellere (see compel). Psychological sense is from 1902. As a noun, attested from 1630s; psychological sense from 1957. Related: Compulsively; compulsiveness.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Caused or conditioned by compulsion or obsession.
A person with behavior patterns governed by a compulsion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.