Meaning of “compulsory” in the English Dictionary

"compulsory" in British English

See all translations

compulsoryadjective

uk /kəmˈpʌl.sər.i/ us /kəmˈpʌl.sɚ.i/

B2 If something is compulsory, you must do it because of a rule or law:

Swimming was compulsory at my school.
The law made wearing seat belts in cars compulsory.

More examples

  • English is compulsory for all students, but art and music are optional.
  • They proposed making secondary education compulsory up to the age of 18.
  • He has just finished a stint of compulsory military service.
  • Attendance at lectures is compulsory.
  • These books are compulsory reading for students of architecture.
compulsorily
adverb uk /kəmˈpʌl.sər.əl.i/ us /kəmˈpʌl.sər.əl.i/

Patients can now be compulsorily detained in hospital only under tightly drawn criteria.

(Definition of “compulsory” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"compulsory" in American English

See all translations

compulsoryadjective

us /kəmˈpʌl·sə·ri/

(of something) that must be done; necessary by law or a rule:

Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16.

(Definition of “compulsory” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"compulsory" in Business English

See all translations

compulsoryadjective

uk /kəmˈpʌlsəri/ us

if something is compulsory, you must do it because of a law or rule:

compulsory (for sb) (to do sth) It isn't compulsory for employers to offer staff private healthcare, but many do.

(Definition of “compulsory” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)