compulsive

adjective
com·​pul·​sive | \ kəm-ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce compulsive (audio) \

Definition of compulsive

1 : having power to compel forced to resort to compulsive measures
2 : of, relating to, caused by, or suggestive of psychological compulsion or obsession compulsive actions a compulsive gambler compulsive eating

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Other Words from compulsive

compulsively adverb
compulsiveness noun
compulsivity \ kəm-​ˌpəl-​ˈsi-​və-​tē How to pronounce compulsivity (audio) , ˌkäm-​ \ noun

Examples of compulsive in a Sentence

his compulsive clowning around can sometimes be annoying

Recent Examples on the Web

Generally speaking, turning off notifications seems to help, but can also increase compulsive app checking. John Herrman, New York Times, "The Horrible Place Between the Apps," 4 July 2019 Some can also leave with lingering issues, like compulsive behaviors caused by boredom. NBC News, "More research labs are retiring rather than euthanizing monkeys when studies finish," 14 June 2019 By then, experts found that compulsive shopping was widespread — affecting upwards of six percent of the population. Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie, BostonGlobe.com, "Why we shop and shop and shop," 21 June 2019 Some can also leave with lingering issues, like compulsive behaviors caused by boredom. Washington Post, "More research labs are retiring monkeys when studies finish," 13 June 2019 Runciman argues for the need to break with the compulsive return to the interwar period. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 And those behaviors can become out of hand or even compulsive. refinery29.com, "Ashley Judd, #MeToo Survivor: How I Healed, and How You Can Too," 1 May 2018 There are compulsive shoppers who hoard things with the tags still on them (keep the tags on and sell it!) and buy multiple versions of the same thing. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "What I’ve Learned From Cleaning Out Vogue Editors’ Closets," 30 Apr. 2019 The problem is when drug use turns compulsive and harmful — creating health risks, leading someone to neglect family and children, driving someone to commit crimes, and so on. German Lopez, Vox, "The simple idea that could help end America’s opioid epidemic," 26 Dec. 2018

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

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First Known Use of compulsive

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for compulsive

see compulsion

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Statistics for compulsive

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compulsive

The first known use of compulsive was in 1588

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More Definitions for compulsive

compulsive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of compulsive

: caused by a desire that is too strong to resist : impossible to stop or control
: not able to stop or control doing something
chiefly British : very interesting

compulsive

adjective
com·​pul·​sive | \ -ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce compulsive (audio) \

Medical Definition of compulsive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, caused by, or suggestive of psychological compulsion or obsession repetitive and compulsive behavior compulsive hoarding a compulsive gambler

Other Words from compulsive

compulsively adverb
compulsiveness noun
compulsivity \ kəm-​ˌpəl-​ˈsiv-​ət-​ē, ˌkäm-​ How to pronounce compulsivity (audio) \ noun, plural compulsivities
Prozac, which increases the amount of serotonin sloshing around brain circuits, seems to reduce the compulsivity of autism. — Karen Springen, Newsweek, 13 May 1996

compulsive

noun

Medical Definition of compulsive (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who is subject to a psychological compulsion

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Comments on compulsive

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