- compulsion early 15c., from M.Fr. compulsion, from L. compulsionem (nom. compulsio) "a driving, urging," noun of action from pp. stem of compellere "compel" (see COMPEL (Cf. compel)). Psychological sense is from 1909 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Selected Papers on Hysteria," where Ger. Zwangsneurose is rendered as compulsion neurosis.
Etymology dictionary. 2014.