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

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 Christina Hall’s fans are obsessing over her latest Instagram post: a family photo from her recent vacation. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 30 Aug. 2023 Every intelligence official watching Kabul was obsessed with the possibility of an attack by ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS‑K, the Afghan offshoot of the Islamic State, which dreamed of a new caliphate in Central Asia. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 30 Aug. 2023 The influencer-turned-actor, 25, told PEOPLE on the red carpet Sunday at the Los Angeles event honoring content creators that this was the TikTok drama he is currently obsessed with. Nikki Dobrin, Peoplemag, 29 Aug. 2023 Halloweentown | Disney Channel Watch on Thirteen-year-old Marnie is obsessed with all things spooky. Claudia Guthrie, ELLE, 28 Aug. 2023 The standout feature we’re obsessed with is that the case comes with a detachable center flap that has a variety of zippered pockets for extra storage. Anna Popp, Travel + Leisure, 28 Aug. 2023 But what causes a person to obsess over one particular bird? Joe Trezza, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2023 Still, that’s not stopping America’s corporate executives from obsessing over the tech. Hanna Zakharenko, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2023 Addict Lip Glow Balm $40 at Nordstrom The serious beauty aficionado will become instantly obsessed with this lipstick-lip balm hybrid that delivers an oomph of hydration with the perfect glowy tint. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 17 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsess was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near obsess

Cite this Entry

“Obsess.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsess. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


ob·​sess əb-ˈses How to pronounce obsess (audio)
: to occupy the mind of completely or abnormally
obsessed with this new scheme

Medical Definition


transitive verb
ob·​sess əb-ˈses, äb- How to pronounce obsess (audio)
: to preoccupy intensely or abnormally
was obsessed with success

intransitive verb

: to engage in obsessive thinking
solve problems rather than obsess about themCarol Tavris
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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