AskDefine | Define compulsion

Dictionary Definition



1 an urge to do or say something that might be better left undone or unsaid [syn: irresistible impulse]
2 an irrational motive for performing trivial or repetitive actions against your will [syn: obsession]
3 using force to cause something; "though pressed into rugby under compulsion I began to enjoy the game"; "they didn`t have to use coercion" [syn: coercion]

User Contributed Dictionary



From late compulsiō stemming from the Latin compellare - to compel / coerce



  1. An irrational need to perform some action, often despite negative consequences.
    During the basketball game, I had a sudden compulsion to smoke; however, I did not have any cigarettes with me.
  2. The use of authority, influence, or other power to force (compel) a person or persons to act.
  3. The lawful use of violence (i.e. by the administration).

Extensive Definition

Compulsion can refer to, among other things:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abstraction, abulia, alienation, amperage, anxiety, anxiety equivalent, anxiety state, apathy, armipotence, authority, beef, black power, brute force, catatonic stupor, charge, charisma, clout, coercion, cogence, cogency, complex, compulsoriness, constraint, dejection, depression, detachment, dint, drive, driving, driving force, duress, effect, effectiveness, effectuality, elation, emotionalism, energy, euphoria, exigency, fascination, fixation, fixed idea, flower power, folie du doute, force, force majeure, forcefulness, full blast, full force, hang-up, hypercathexis, hypochondria, hysteria, hysterics, idee fixe, impellent, impelling, impelling force, impetus, impulse, impulsion, incentive, incitement, indifference, influence, insensibility, irresistible force, irresistible impulse, lethargy, main force, main strength, mana, mandatedness, mandatoriness, mania, melancholia, mental distress, might, might and main, mightiness, moment, momentum, monomania, morbid drive, motive power, moxie, muscle power, necessariness, necessitation, necessitude, necessity, need, obligation, obligatoriness, obligement, obsession, obsessive compulsion, pathological indecisiveness, pinch, pizzazz, poop, possession, potence, potency, potentiality, power, power pack, power structure, power struggle, powerfulness, preoccupation, prepossession, prepotency, press, pressing, pressure, productiveness, productivity, propulsion, psychalgia, psychomotor disturbance, puissance, pull, punch, push, rash impulse, ruling passion, sinew, steam, strength, stress, strong arm, stupor, superiority, superpower, thrust, tic, twitching, unresponsiveness, urge, urgency, validity, vehemence, vigor, vim, violence, virility, virtue, virulence, vitality, wattage, weight, withdrawal
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