compulsive

adjective

com·​pul·​sive kəm-ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce compulsive (audio)
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
compulsively adverb
compulsiveness noun
compulsivity noun

Examples of compulsive in a Sentence

his compulsive clowning around can sometimes be annoying
Recent Examples on the Web Way too many geriatrics with diminished ability in there, and all are compulsive liars. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 13 July 2024 That’s because the dominant policy models are utterly divorced from the emotional pain flowing out of today’s social and economic structures that fuel compulsive use of highly lethal substances. Zachary Siegel, Scientific American, 9 July 2024 The researchers recruited 88 people, some of whom were food addicted, along with a collection of 103 mice, including some with compulsive eating habits. Linda Carroll, NBC News, 28 June 2024 Unfortunately, allowing Trump to blather lies nonstop without fact-checking plays right into a compulsive liar’s hands. Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, 28 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for compulsive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'compulsive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of compulsive was in 1588

Dictionary Entries Near compulsive

Cite this Entry

“Compulsive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compulsive. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

compulsive

adjective
com·​pul·​sive kəm-ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce compulsive (audio)
: caused by or subject to an irresistible urge
compulsive behavior
compulsively adverb

Medical Definition

compulsive

1 of 2 adjective
com·​pul·​sive -ˈpəl-siv How to pronounce compulsive (audio)
: of, relating to, caused by, or suggestive of psychological compulsion or obsession
repetitive and compulsive behavior
compulsive hoarding
a compulsive gambler
compulsively adverb
compulsiveness noun
compulsivity noun
plural compulsivities
Prozac, which increases the amount of serotonin sloshing around brain circuits, seems to reduce the compulsivity of autism. Karen Springen, Newsweek

compulsive

2 of 2 noun
: one who is subject to a psychological compulsion

More from Merriam-Webster on compulsive

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