1. Having the capacity to compel: a frightening, compulsive novel.
2. Psychiatry Caused or conditioned by compulsion or obsession.
A person with behavior patterns governed by a compulsion.
com·pulsive·ness, com′pul·sivi·ty (kŏm′pŭl-sĭvĭ-tē, kəm-) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.