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See more synonyms for compulsory on Thesaurus.com
  1. required; mandatory; obligatory: compulsory education.
  2. using compulsion; compelling; constraining: compulsory measures to control rioting.
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noun, plural com·pul·so·ries.
  1. something, as an athletic feat, that must be performed or completed as part of a contest or competition: The ice skater received a higher score on the compulsories than on her freestyle performance.
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Origin of compulsory

1510–20; < Medieval Latin compulsōrius, equivalent to Latin compul-, variant stem of compellere (see compel) + -sōrius, for -tōrius -tory1; cf. compulsive
Related formscom·pul·so·ri·ly, adverbcom·pul·so·ri·ness, nounnon·com·pul·so·ri·ly, adverbnon·com·pul·so·ri·ly·ness, nounnon·com·pul·so·ry, adjectivequa·si-com·pul·so·ri·ly, adverbqua·si-com·pul·so·ry, adjectiveun·com·pul·so·ry, adjective

Antonyms for compulsory

1, 2. voluntary.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for compulsorily


Examples from the Web for compulsorily

Historical Examples of compulsorily

  • It was often compulsorily closed and the students dispersed.

    Literary Tours in The Highlands and Islands of Scotland

    Daniel Turner Holmes

  • Domestic animals may be highly bred from outside, compulsorily.

  • She might be compulsorily a Mahala, yet was still, at heart, a white woman.

    Buckskin Mose

    Buckskin Mose

  • Our bad habits were compulsorily in abeyance: the "good tables" were gone.

  • It was not difficult to recognize them for two of the compulsorily retired officers of the Old Guard.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for compulsorily


  1. required by regulations or laws; obligatorycompulsory education
  2. involving or employing compulsion; compelling; necessary; essential
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Derived Formscompulsorily, adverbcompulsoriness, 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

Word Origin and History for compulsorily



1580s, from Medieval Latin compulsorius, from Latin compulsus, past participle of compellere (see compel).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper