compulsion (n.)

early 15c., "coercion, application of force (to someone) overwhelming his preferences," from Old French compulsion, from Latin compulsionem (nominative compulsio) "a driving, urging," noun of action from past-participle stem of compellere "to drive, force together," from com "with, together" (see com-) + pellere "to drive" (from PIE root *pel- (5) "to thrust, strike, drive").

Psychological sense of "instant impulse to behave in a certain way" is from 1909 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Selected Papers on Hysteria," where German Zwangsneurose is rendered as compulsion neurosis.

updated on February 17, 2018