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 Writing in these pages last year, Fintan O’Toole adeptly analyzed the prime minister’s compulsive mendacity. Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books, "A Difficult Birth in Britain’s Stressed Health Service," 4 June 2020 Before Covid-19, concerns about compulsive use of the internet or internet addiction, characterized by overuse and overdependence on digital devices, were growing. David Rosenberg, CNN, "Excessive hand-washing. Tech addiction. Behaviors once considered extreme are now crucial to protect us amid a dangerous pandemic," 29 June 2020 Some people have obsessive-compulsive traits that are less severe. David Rosenberg, The Conversation, "Are we all OCD now, with obsessive hand-washing and technology addiction?," 15 June 2020 As expected, his initial foray into online relationships generated a lot of blank stares and compulsive gadget fidgeting. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "How to engage preschoolers on Zoom when social bonding is more important than ever," 10 June 2020 Her compulsive need to talk likely deprives her of richer relationships, growth and personal development. cleveland, "Dear Annie: My sister wants me to listen to her complain but never seems to care about what I say. What should I do?," 9 Feb. 2020 Her compulsive need to talk likely deprives her of richer relationships, growth and personal development. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: She wants a dialogue with her sister but gets the same monologue over and over," 9 Feb. 2020 This is a character defined at the outset by nothing more than the seemingly compulsive need to shower gifts and gold on a mob of ornately fawning friends. Geoffrey O’brien, The New York Review of Books, "A Timon for Our Time," 29 Jan. 2020 To help those looking for something new to play—or just those with a compulsive need to add to their backlog—we’ve broken down what's worth considering from each sale below. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Sony and Microsoft launch a bunch of PS4 and Xbox deals ahead of E3," 7 June 2019

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

borrowed from Medieval Latin compulsīvus, from Latin compulsus, past participle of compellere "to drive together, force to go, force (to a view, course of action)" + -īvus -ive — more at compel

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Time Traveler for compulsive

Time Traveler

The first known use of compulsive was in 1588

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Statistics for compulsive

Last Updated

25 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Compulsive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compulsive. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for compulsive

compulsive

adjective
How to pronounce compulsive (audio)

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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