mono·​ma·​nia ˌmä-nə-ˈmā-nē-ə How to pronounce monomania (audio)
: mental illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought
: excessive concentration on a single object or idea
monomaniac noun or adjective
monomaniacal adjective
monomaniacally adverb

Examples of monomania in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Coaches and judges exacerbated students’ monomania. Tess McNulty, Harper's Magazine, 10 Aug. 2022 Because as is now clear, Putin’s monomania about controlling Ukraine—its military, its economy, its entire sovereignty—stems not from security arrangements, but from pure, unadulterated neo-imperialism, and a desire to reclaim territories Putin believes belong to Moscow. Casey Michel, The New Republic, 22 Feb. 2022 The monomania of getting into the sky transcends any barrier that puts him on the ground. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Dec. 2022 In conceiving the project, Fournier and Marty invented a backstory and built their décor around it with the zany monomania of a Wes Anderson movie. Joshua Levine, WSJ, 13 Aug. 2018 The textualist monomania seems to grate especially on Ginsburg, who was famously close with Scalia. Simon Van Zuylen-Wood, Daily Intelligencer, 28 May 2018 Fischer’s defiant monomania already had many worried during his adolescence. Ann Hulbert, Time, 10 Jan. 2018 There are a few problems with the notion that Trump is to blame for our collective political monomania. Christopher Beha, Harper's magazine, 10 May 2019 Polar monomania is the subject and driving force behind this curious book, a composite of capsule history, essays and fictionalized memoir. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 8 June 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'monomania.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French monomanie, from mono- mono- + -manie -mania

Note: The term monomanie was introduced by the psychiatrist Jean-Étienne Esquirol (1772-1840). It is perhaps first used in print in the article that Esquirol wrote on démonomanie "the delusion of being possessed by evil spirits" in the Dictionnaire des sciences médicales, tome 8 (Dac-Des), Paris, 1814. In a later publication Esquirol recalled applying the term to "partial madness" "more than fifteen years ago" ("Il y a plus de quinze ans que j'ai proposer d'imposer à la folie partielle le nom de monomanie") ("Note sur la monomanie-homocide," in J.-C. Hoffbauer, Médecine légale relative aux aliénés et aux sourds-muets, translated by A.-M. Chambeyron, "avec des notes par MM. Esquirol et Itard," Paris, 1827). For further context see Jan E. Goldstein, Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago, 2001).

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of monomania was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near monomania

Cite this Entry

“Monomania.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


mono·​ma·​nia ˌmän-ə-ˈmā-nē-ə, -nyə How to pronounce monomania (audio)
: mental illness especially when limited in expression to one idea or area of thought

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