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

  • adjective Obligatory; required.
  • adjective Employing or exerting compulsion; coercive.
  • noun An element, such as a dive or school figure, required of all competitors in an athletic competition.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun That which has the power of compelling; constraining authority.

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective required by rule


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin compulsorius


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

    Psychology Today < 2010

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

    Psychology Today < 2010

  • 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 2008

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

    An image problem? « Gin&Comment 2008

  • 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 Not a sheep 2008

  • 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 2007

  • 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”: 2007

  • 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 2005

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

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1996

  • 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 1995


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