Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of compelling.
  • noun The state of being compelled.
  • noun An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation.
  • noun An act or acts performed in response to such an impulse.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The application (to a person) of superior force, physical or moral, overpowering or overruling his preferences; the force applied; constraint, physical or moral.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An irrational need to perform some action, often despite negative consequences.
  • noun The use of authority, influence, or other power to force (compel) a person or persons to act.
  • noun The lawful use of violence (i.e. by the administration).

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

  • noun an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions, even against your will
  • noun an urge to do or say something that might be better left undone or unsaid
  • noun using force to cause something to occur

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin compulsiō, compulsiōn-, from Latin compulsus, past participle of compellere, to compel; see compel.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin compulsiō, from Latin compellere ("to compel, coerce"); see compel.

Examples

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