compulsion

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noun com·pul·sion \kəm-ˈpəl-shən\

Definition of compulsion

  1. 1a :  an act of compelling tried to get them to cooperate without using compulsion :  the state of being compelled He was acting under compulsion.b :  a force that compels

  2. 2 :  an irresistible persistent impulse to perform an act (such as excessive hand washing) her compulsion to repeatedly check and recheck the stove to be certain that it is turned off; also :  the act itself Gambling is a compulsion with him.

Examples of compulsion in a Sentence

  1. I gave in to one of my compulsions and ordered the chocolate dessert.

  2. We should be able to get them to cooperate without using compulsion.

Recent Examples of compulsion from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compulsion'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of compulsion

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French, from Late Latin compulsion-, compulsio, from Latin compellere to compel



COMPULSION Defined for English Language Learners

compulsion

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noun

Definition of compulsion for English Language Learners

  • : a very strong desire to do something

  • : the act of using force or pressure to make someone do something

  • : the state of being forced to do something


COMPULSION Defined for Kids

compulsion

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noun com·pul·sion \kəm-ˈpəl-shən\

Definition of compulsion for Students

  1. 1 :  a very strong urge to do something He felt a compulsion to say something.

  2. 2 :  a force that makes someone do something She was acting under compulsion.

  3. 3 :  an act or the state of forcing an action They got what they wanted through compulsion.


Medical Dictionary

compulsion

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noun com·pul·sion \kəm-ˈpəl-shən\

Medical Definition of compulsion

  1. :  an irresistible persistent impulse to perform an act (as excessive hand washing); also :  the act itself—compare obsession, phobia


Law Dictionary

compulsion

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noun com·pul·sion \kəm-ˈpəl-shən\

Legal Definition of compulsion

  1. 1 :  an act of compelling (as by threat or intimidation); specifically :  coercion a payment exacted by lawless compulsion — E. A. Farnsworth and W. F. Young

  2. 2 :  the state of being compelled; specifically :  duress

Additional Notes on compulsion

Compulsion can make a contract voidable or be a ground for damages or restitution. Compulsion may also be a defense to a criminal act.



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