Definition of compulsive in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəmˈpəlsiv/


1Resulting from or relating to an irresistible urge, especially one that is against one’s conscious wishes: compulsive eating
More example sentences
  • For example, multiple addictions have been found among more than half of adolescents who have a compulsive behaviour problem.
  • The child may develop school phobias, compulsive eating or psychosomatic illnesses.
  • Marijuana is addictive because it causes compulsive, uncontrollable drug craving, seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences.
irresistible, uncontrollable, compelling, overwhelming, urgent;
obsessive, obsessional, addictive, uncontrollable
1.1(Of a person) acting as a result of an irresistible urge: a compulsive liar
More example sentences
  • Sure enough, he was a liar and a compulsive gambler.
  • But I think, you know, the combination of a wild stock market with Internet accessibility has turned a lot of people into compulsive gamblers.
  • You know I can be a very compulsive person, and I have to admit that most of the time I read in the same way that I smoke and chew gum and jiggle my leg a lot.
inveterate, chronic, incorrigible, incurable, hardened, hopeless, persistent;
obsessive, addicted, habitual
informal pathological
2Irresistibly interesting or exciting; compelling: this play is compulsive viewing
More example sentences
  • This feature has just been added to my stats service, which makes it now not just interesting but compulsive viewing.
  • War and disasters are indeed fascinating, they make compulsive viewing, especially if you're not in the firing line.
  • The Republic recovered the pride and drive that fuelled their brave World Cup challenge on a night when Hampden Park rocked to the compulsive beat of a compelling performance.
fascinating, compelling, gripping, riveting, engrossing, enthralling, captivating



Example sentences
  • It is the nature of compulsiveness to go until you can't go anymore.
  • Low-involvement parents had higher levels of psychological distress across the domains of somatization, obsessive compulsiveness, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, and anxiety.
  • His long-term personality pattern shows features of compulsiveness and marked investment in self-regulation.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'compulsory'): from medieval Latin compulsivus, from compuls- 'driven, forced', from the verb compellere (see compel). sense 1 (originally a term in psychology) dates from the early 20th century.

Words that rhyme with compulsive

convulsive, impulsive, propulsive, repulsive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·pul·sive

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