from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The act of compelling.
- n. The state of being compelled.
- n. An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation: "The compulsion to protect the powerful from the discomfort of public disclosure feeds further abuse and neglect” ( Boston Globe).
- n. An act or acts performed in response to such an impulse.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An irrational need to perform some action, often despite negative consequences.
- n. The use of authority, influence, or other power to force (compel) a person or persons to act.
- n. The lawful use of violence (i.e. by the administration).
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The act of compelling, or the state of being compelled; the act of driving or urging by force or by physical or moral constraint; subjection to force.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The application (to a person) of superior force, physical or moral, overpowering or overruling his preferences; the force applied; constraint, physical or moral.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions, even against your will
- n. an urge to do or say something that might be better left undone or unsaid
- n. using force to cause something to occur
Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin compulsiō, compulsiōn-, from Latin compulsus, past participle of compellere, to compel; see compel.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin compulsiō, from Latin compellere ("to compel, coerce"); see compel. (Wiktionary)