Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Obligatory; required: a compulsory examination.
  • adj. Employing or exerting compulsion; coercive.
  • n. Sports An element, such as a dive or school figure, required of all competitors in an athletic competition. Often used in the plural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Required; obligatory; mandatory
  • adj. Having the power of compulsion; constraining
  • n. Something that is compulsory or required.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the power of compulsion; constraining.
  • adj. Obligatory; enjoined by authority; necessary; due to compulsion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Exercising compulsion; tending to compel; compelling; constraining: as, compulsory authority; to take compulsory measures.
  • Obligatory; due to or arising from compulsion; enforced or enforceable; not left to choice.
  • Done under compulsion; resulting from compulsion.
  • n. That which has the power of compelling; constraining authority.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. required by rule

Etymologies

From Latin compulsorius (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The term compulsory, if it has any meaning at all, means that the person has no choice about it.

    Psychology Today

  • So I was annoyed but not surprised to learn this week that: "State school pupils are set to be taught Islamic traditions and values in compulsory citizenship lessons."

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • It recommends that governmental control over syllabuses be reduced and that the topics covered in compulsory mathematics education be made more rigorous, to encourage independent thinking and problem solving.

    In defence of mathematics « Gin&Comment

  • And no wonder, when you consider just what is involved in compulsory school mathematics.

    An image problem? « Gin&Comment

  • After all, Israel has a rare commodity: more or less its entire young female population spends some time in compulsory military service.

    Matthew Yglesias » Leave it to the Professionals

  • Neodarwinism has a full protection racket – lawyers, tenured gatekeepers, journalists, and "expert witnesses" – who battle tirelessly to prevent criticisms of its Absolute Truth [TM] from being voiced in compulsory education settings or published in the scientific press.

    A decent, popular article on intelligent design

  • Taxes are immoral — and so is the idea of “national service” or “community service” or whatever they call the compulsory voluntarism flavor of the month.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Threat of Forced Labor Through Mandatory “National Service”:

  • She also proposed long-term compulsory enrolment to community-based treatment programmes after release from prison.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Government old age pensions should be retained as a non-contributory system but in the longer term compulsory provision should be introduced, the Smith Report on retirement provision in

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • However, History is never an optional subject for the French Canadian, or any part of it; it is compulsory from the first to the last year.

    Was The King Right

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