the act of compelling; constraint; coercion.
the state or condition of being compelled.
Psychology. a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational or contrary to one's will.

1375–1425; late Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin compulsiōn- (stem of compulsiō), equivalent to Latin compuls(us), past participle of compellere to compel (com- com- + pul- variant stem + -sus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion

noncompulsion, noun
precompulsion, noun

compulsion, compunction. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
compulsion (kəmˈpʌlʃən)
1.  the act of compelling or the state of being compelled
2.  something that compels
3.  psychiatry See also obsession an inner drive that causes a person to perform actions, often of a trivial and repetitive nature, against his or her will
[C15: from Old French, from Latin compellere to compel]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1462, from M.Fr. compulsion, from L. compulsionem (nom. compulsio), from compulsus, pp. of compellere "compel" (see compel). Psychological sense is from 1909 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Selected Papers on Hysteria," where Ger. Zwangsneurose is rendered as compulsion neurosis.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

compulsion com·pul·sion (kəm-pŭl'shən)
An uncontrollable impulse to perform an act, often repetitively, as an unconscious mechanism to avoid unacceptable ideas and desires which, by themselves, arouse anxiety.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

compulsion definition

In psychology, an internal force that leads persons to act against their will. A “compulsive” act cannot be controlled: “Smith was a compulsive gambler.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Discontinuing or reducing the dose of the drug appears to curb the compulsions.
For example, a medication that reduces tics may not help with impulse control
  or compulsions.
Political parties have their own compulsions in not going over-board inviting
  foreign retailers to set up shop here.
His fate may be perpetual imprisonment in his compulsions: at the end of the
  film he's where he began.
Related Words
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