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See also: compulsión



Borrowed from Middle French compulsion, from Late Latin compulsiō, from Latin compellere (to compel, coerce); see compel.



compulsion (countable and uncountable, plural compulsions)

  1. An irrational need or irresistible urge to perform some action, often despite negative consequences.
    • 2016 January 17, "Wealthy cabals run America," Al Jazeera America (retrieved 18 January 2016):
      But Treaty translator and Ottawa leader Andrew Blackbird described the Treaty as made “not with the free will of the Indians, but by compulsion.”
    • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36:
      It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; […].
    During the basketball game, I had a sudden compulsion to have a smoke.
  2. The use of authority, influence, or other power to force (compel) a person or persons to act.
  3. The lawful use of violence (i.e. by the administration).

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