Compulsion refers to an irresistible urge to engage in a specific behavior or activity, often to the point of becoming a habit or addiction.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



coercion, constraint, pressure, impulse, drive, obsession, addiction, obsession.


choice, free will, volition, option, liberty, independence, freedom.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun compulsion, compulsivity, compulsives, compulsiveness, compulsive, compulsivenesses, compulsions, compulsivities
Verb compelling, compelled, compels, compel
Adjective compulsive
Adverb compulsively

Example Sentences

  • His compulsion to constantly check his phone made it difficult for him to focus on anything else.

  • Despite knowing the risks, his compulsion for gambling prevented him from quitting.

  • Mary’s compulsion to clean her house every day was starting to affect her relationships with friends and family.

  • The athlete’s compulsion to always win often caused him to push himself too hard and suffer injuries.


Compulsion, as a noun, is typically used to describe a strong, irresistible urge to do something that overrides one’s personal desires or interests, often leading to inappropriate or harmful behavior. The word is derived from the Latin word ‘compellere’, meaning ’to compel’ or ’to force’, and is often associated with a feeling of pressure or obligation to act in a certain way.

There are several variations of the word, including the adjective ‘compulsive’ and the adverb ‘compulsively’, which are used to describe behaviors or actions that are driven by compulsion. For example, a person with a compulsive need for cleanliness may feel compelled to constantly clean and sanitize their surroundings, often to the point of obsession.

The prefix ‘im-’ can be added to the word compulsion to form the word ‘impulsion’, which refers to a sudden or forceful push or encouragement towards a certain action or decision. This prefix can also be added to form the word ‘impulsive’, which describes a tendency to act on sudden or rash impulses without thinking through the consequences.

The suffix ‘-ion’ is commonly added to verbs to form abstract nouns that describe an action or state. In the case of compulsion, the suffix ‘-ion’ is added to the verb ‘compel’, resulting in the noun ‘compulsion’, which describes the state or act of being compelled to do something.

Overall, the word compulsion and its variations are useful in describing behaviors, feelings and actions that are driven by a strong sense of obligation or pressure, often leading to negative consequences if left unchecked.