ob·​ses·​sion äb-ˈse-shən How to pronounce obsession (audio)
: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling
broadly : compelling motivation
an obsession with profits
has an obsession with gambling
: something that causes an obsession
Losing weight can be an obsession that results in the avoidance of certain foods.
obsessional adjective
obsessionally adverb

Examples of obsession in a Sentence

He was fascinated by the actress and tracking her every move had become an obsession. She has an obsession about cleanliness. Her concern about cleanliness approaches the level of obsession. Money has become an obsession for him.
Recent Examples on the Web Nevertheless, the young people for whom fashion is a singular obsession continue making their way here to bring their creative visions to life. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 16 Feb. 2024 Nutrition and diet would become an obsession of his. Pete Wells, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2024 To top it all off, a nother American obsession — tequila — is starting to cause problems too. Mark Stevenson, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 Tom Holland, the great British historian (not the actor), gets at some of the truth in this short video by noting Putin's obsession with history and the imperial/colonial purpose underlying it - and about Putin's efforts to create myth. Melik Kaylan, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 Last obsession Finding the perfect pour-over coffee. Julie Jordan, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024 Prosecutors believe that obsession with Harwick was ignited when Pursehouse saw her at an awards show on Jan. 16, 2020 - about a month before her death. CBS News, 9 Feb. 2024 The web’s trove of cat memes is just one aspect of our obsession with cuteness. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 The mad obsession with identity politics controls entertainment-industry trade media, especially coverage of the Oscar nominations. Armond White, National Review, 2 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsession was in 1680

Dictionary Entries Near obsession

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ob·​ses·​sion äb-ˈsesh-ən How to pronounce obsession (audio)
: a disturbing concern with an idea or feeling that cannot be put out of mind even when it is seen to be unreasonable
also : such a thought or feeling

Medical Definition


ob·​ses·​sion äb-ˈsesh-ən, əb- How to pronounce obsession (audio)
: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling
also : something that causes such preoccupation compare compulsion, phobia
obsessional adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on obsession

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