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

Murphy’s first series for the streaming titan follows Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), a wealthy student at a fancy private high school who, since the age of 7, has obsessed about occupying the Oval Office. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "Fall TV 2019: 10 new shows you’ll want to see," 13 Sep. 2019 Don't obsess about the hardware First, forget about your camera. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "What is the best camera for a family vacation? The one you have with you in the moment," 15 July 2019 There are no Durants or Leonards in next year’s class of free agents, and that means a full season of watching the NBA without obsessing about the NBA off-season is a distinct possibility. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The End of the NBA’s Endless Summer," 10 July 2019 We are obsessed with our jobs and professional achievements only because we, as a species, convinced ourselves that a higher salary correlates with intelligence and persistence. Azamat Omuraliev, Quartz, "We should start working less now to mentally prepare ourselves for automation," 27 June 2019 Meanwhile, Kylie couldn't stop obsessing about her rainbow-ombre crystal-embellished wedges and her long blonde bob wig. Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall and Kylie Jenner's Night Out Involved Karaoke, Leg Slits, and Blonde Wigs," 23 June 2019 Trump also spent precious time in Japan on Twitter, obsessing about Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "Trip overseas helps widen teens' world," 18 June 2019 Enlisting a noted fiction writer to tell his life story might strike casual observers as odd, but Snowden and Cohen are both obsessed with the ways in which tech has transformed self and society. Adam Weinstein, The New Republic, "Edward Snowden’s Novel Makeover," 17 Sep. 2019 Laura Karlin, artistic director of Invertigo Dance Theatre, has been just about obsessed with Turing’s life and work. Laura Bleiberg, Los Angeles Times, "Review: In a breakthrough show, Invertigo Dance takes a delicious bite from a forbidden apple," 15 Sep. 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.

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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

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Statistics for obsess

Last Updated

16 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obsess

The first known use of obsess was in 1531

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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

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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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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