compelling, compulsive
Both words involve a sense of strong urging and are derived from Latin compellere meaning ‘to drive on’. An activity or habit that is compulsive affects an individual in a way they cannot control (a near synonym is addictive):

• Franklin was…a compulsive composer of lists and instructions —New York Metro, 2004.

Compelling is used of arguments and information that is convincing or effective (the synonym here is persuasive). So when a newspaper television review described a historical programme as being on the receiving end of the BBC's compulsive docudrama treatment, the word needed was compelling, since the programme was presumably well-presented and persuasive rather than addictive.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Compulsive — Com*pul sive, a. Having power to compel; exercising or applying compulsion. [1913 Webster] Religion is . . . inconsistent with all compulsive motives. Sharp. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • compulsive — index compelling, obligatory Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • compulsive — c.1600, from Fr. compulsif, from L. compulsus, pp. of compellere (see COMPEL (Cf. compel)). Psychological sense is from 1902. As a noun, attested from 1630s; psychological sense from 1957. Related: Compulsively; compulsiveness …   Etymology dictionary

  • compulsive — [adj] driving, obsessive besetting, compelling, enthusiastic, irresistible, overwhelming, passionate, uncontrollable, urgent; concept 401 Ant. controlled, easy going, free, independent …   New thesaurus

  • compulsive — ► ADJECTIVE 1) resulting from or acting on an irresistible urge. 2) irresistibly interesting or exciting. DERIVATIVES compulsively adverb compulsiveness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • compulsive — [kəm pul′siv] adj. [ML compulsivus] of, having to do with, or resulting from compulsion compulsively adv …   English World dictionary

  • compulsive — com|pul|sive [kəmˈpʌlsıv] adj 1.) compulsive behaviour is very difficult to stop or control, and is often a result of or a sign of a mental problem →↑obsessive compulsive gambling/overeating/spending etc ▪ Compulsive overspending in these days of …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • compulsive — [[t]kəmpʌ̱lsɪv[/t]] 1) ADJ: ADJ n You use compulsive to describe people or their behaviour when they cannot stop doing something wrong, harmful, or unnecessary. ...a compulsive liar... He was a compulsive gambler and often heavily in debt.… …   English dictionary

  • compulsive — adjective 1 compulsive behaviour is very difficult to stop or control, and is often a result of or a sign of a mental problem: Compulsive spending is often a symptom of deep unhappiness. 2 a compulsive liar/gambler/drinker etc someone who has… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • compulsive — Influenced by compulsion; of a compelling and irresistible nature. * * * com·pul·sive pəl siv adj of, relating to, caused by, or suggestive of psychological compulsion or obsession <repetitive and compulsive behavior> <a compulsive… …   Medical dictionary

  • compulsive — com|pul|sive [ kəm pʌlsıv ] adjective impossible to control and therefore sometimes harmful: a compulsive eating disorder His compulsive need to succeed made him unpopular with the rest of the staff. a. used about people who have a habit they… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English