Definition of compulsion noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kəmˈpʌlʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kəmˈpʌlʃn//
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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] (formal) strong pressure that makes somebody do something that they do not want to do compulsion (to do something) You are under no compulsion to pay immediately. compulsion (on somebody) to do something There are no compulsions on students to attend classes. The legal system is based on compulsion.
  2. 2[countable] compulsion (to do something) a strong desire to do something, especially something that is wrong, silly or dangerous synonym urge He felt a great compulsion to tell her everything. Obsessions and compulsions often develop in people who live stressful lives.
  3. see also compel
    Word Originlate Middle English: via Old French from late Latin compulsio(n-), from compellere ‘to drive, force’, from com- ‘together’ + pellere ‘drive’.Extra examples There is an element of compulsion in the new plan for the unemployed. There is no compulsion to say anything. You are under no compulsion to disclose this information. You’re under no compulsion to take part. Although there was no legal compulsion, the moral obligation to pay was strong. He felt a great compulsion to drive too fast. The use of compulsion in psychiatric care is a controversial issue.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: compulsion