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Line breaks: com|pul¦sive
Pronunciation: /kəmˈpʌlsɪv

Definition of compulsive in English:


1Resulting from or relating to an irresistible urge: 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.
obsessive, neurotic
obsessive, obsessional, addictive, uncontrollable, out of control, ungovernable
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, irredeemable, hardened, hopeless, persistent;
obsessive, obsessional, addicted, habitual, dependent
informal pathological, hooked
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.


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.



Example sentences
  • He moved often from dwelling to dwelling, and had strange personal habits such as wearing filthy clothing while washing compulsively.
  • This intelligent, compulsively readable book draws from excellent life experience, artists' bios and pop culture.
  • Even last night, it was all that I could do not to start surfing through the cabinets for things to shove into my mouth compulsively.


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.

Words that rhyme with compulsive

convulsive, impulsive, propulsive, repulsive

Definition of compulsive in:

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Pronunciation: ˌapəˈTHedik
showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern