ob·​sess | \ əb-ˈses How to pronounce obsess (audio) , äb-\
obsessed; obsessing; obsesses

Definition of obsess

transitive verb

: to haunt or excessively preoccupy the mind of was obsessed with the idea She was obsessed with her car.

intransitive verb

: to engage in obsessive thinking : become obsessed with an idea He's always obsessing over money.

Examples of obsess in a Sentence

The war obsesses him—he talks about nothing else. You need to stop obsessing and just deal with the problem.

Recent Examples on the Web

Last year at Red Sox spring training, the players became obsessed with the multiplayer survival video game set in a post-apocalyptic world. Tim Bannon, chicagotribune.com, "8 things to know about Craig Kimbrel, including the origin of his peculiar pitching stance," 6 June 2019 New York Republican Senator Al D’Amato, who was obsessed with Clinton corruption, lost his bid for a third term to an ambitious Democratic congressman named Chuck Schumer. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "1998 Was a Seinfeld Election—Not an Impeachment Referendum," 6 June 2019 In the process of transforming the Utes into a national powerhouse, Marsden was equally as obsessed with marketing the program. Dvorameyers, Longreads, "The Gymnast’s Position," 5 June 2019 Throughout season three, both Gryphons & Gargoyles and the Gargoyle King terrorized the town; Riverdale High students became obsessed with the game, and there was even a fan theory that the show itself was a mirror to the game. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "The “Riverdale” Season 3 Finale Finally Revealed Who Is Under the Gargoyle King Mask," 16 May 2019 As Pelosi left the White House, Twitter users immediately zoomed in on the sight of her red coat and became obsessed with the outerwear. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Twitter Loved Nancy Pelosi's Max Mara Coat So Much, It's Coming Back to Stores," 13 Dec. 2018 Trump, Twitter's most notable user and a man known to obsess about crowd size and ratings, lost about 400,000 of his 53 million followers. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Twitter purge hits John McCain, Ruben Gallego most among Arizona politicos," 12 July 2018 Personally, obsessing over food and its calories doesn’t feed anything other than my anxiety. Charlotte Palermino, Bon Appetit, "A French Woman's Guide to Unabashedly Loving Butter," 23 May 2018 For the tech-obsessed, there’s the enduringly classic tote bag, which is perfect for bringing a laptop or iPad onboard. Vogue, "Is the Airport Your Runway? Meet 4 Travel Bags That Marry Fashion and Function," 23 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obsess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of obsess

1531, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for obsess

Latin obsessus, past participle of obsidēre to frequent, besiege, from ob- against + sedēre to sit — more at ob-, sit

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about obsess

Statistics for obsess

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obsess

The first known use of obsess was in 1531

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for obsess



English Language Learners Definition of obsess

: to be the only person or thing that someone thinks or talks about
informal : to think and talk about someone or something too much


ob·​sess | \ əb-ˈses How to pronounce obsess (audio) \
obsessed; obsessing

Kids Definition of obsess

: to occupy the thoughts of completely or abnormally A new scheme obsesses him.
ob·​sess | \ əb-ˈses, äb- How to pronounce obsess (audio) \

Medical Definition of obsess

: to preoccupy intensely or abnormally was obsessed with success

intransitive verb

: to engage in obsessive thinking solve problems rather than obsess about them— Carol Tavris

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on obsess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obsess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obsess

Spanish Central: Translation of obsess

Nglish: Translation of obsess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obsess for Arabic Speakers

Comments on obsess

What made you want to look up obsess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!