[ kuhm-puhl-suh-ree ]
See synonyms for: compulsorycompulsorily on

  1. required; mandatory; obligatory: compulsory education.

  2. using compulsion; compelling; constraining: compulsory measures to control rioting.

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.

Origin of compulsory

1510–20; <Medieval Latin compulsōrius, equivalent to Latin compul-, variant stem of compellere (see compel) + -sōrius, for -tōrius-tory1; cf. compulsive

Opposites for compulsory

Other words from compulsory

  • com·pul·so·ri·ly, adverb
  • com·pul·so·ri·ness, noun
  • non·com·pul·so·ri·ly, adverb
  • non·com·pul·so·ri·ly·ness, noun
  • non·com·pul·so·ry, adjective
  • qua·si-com·pul·so·ri·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-com·pul·so·ry, adjective
  • un·com·pul·so·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use compulsory in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for compulsory


/ (kəmˈpʌlsərɪ) /

  1. required by regulations or laws; obligatory: compulsory education

  2. involving or employing compulsion; compelling; necessary; essential

Derived forms of compulsory

  • compulsorily, adverb
  • compulsoriness, 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