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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.
    • 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.
    • 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.”
  3. The lawful use of violence (i.e. by the administration).

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