ob·​ses·​sion | \ äb-ˈse-shən How to pronounce obsession (audio) , əb- \

Definition of obsession

1 : a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling broadly : compelling motivation an obsession with profits has an obsession with gambling
2 : something that causes an obsession Losing weight can be an obsession that results in the avoidance of certain foods.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from obsession

obsessional \ äb-​ˈsesh-​nəl How to pronounce obsession (audio) , -​ˈse-​shə-​nᵊl , əb-​ \ 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Enter the enigmatic Bobbi Kitten, who takes Lennon under her confident wing—unwittingly entangling herself in a dark obsession. Devon Ivie, Vulture, "Ilana Glazer and Zoe Lister-Jones Lead the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival Lineup," 20 Apr. 2021 All of this — the life not lived with Peg; the attraction not spoken of with Elefantin — is pure James, as is Petrie’s increasing obsession with, and fear of, knowing the truth about Elefantin, and himself, and his life. BostonGlobe.com, "Making sense of the past in ‘Antiquities’," 15 Apr. 2021 But except for its digital precision, the exercise adds little to Minimalism’s vaunted obsession with space and the lengthy tradition of nearly empty galleries as art. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Dia Chelsea, Keeper of the Avant-Garde Flame," 15 Apr. 2021 Secondly, society’s obsession with obtaining wealth makes many feel insecure or unqualified to speak openly about their existing personal finances. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Meet Ebony Beckford, The Black Mom Who Created An Activity Box To Teach Kids About Financial Literacy," 12 Apr. 2021 Is Beautiful, a 2007 documentary that explored America's beauty obsession, but her big break came when she was cast on Baldwin Hills, a BET reality series about teenagers from the Los Angeles neighborhood of the same name. Andrea Towers, EW.com, "Gerren Taylor, Baldwin Hills star, dies at 30," 12 Apr. 2021 Whatever the future holds for consumer brain-computer interfaces, two groups will likely be winners as a result of Silicon Valley’s obsession with neurotechnology. Anna Wexler, STAT, "A skeptic’s take on Neuralink and other consumer neurotech," 8 Apr. 2021 Naturally, our son Sammy inherited my husband’s obsession. Devorah Lev-tov, Bon Appétit, "This Chocolate-Flavored, Flower-Shaped Cereal Is All I Want for Breakfast," 2 Apr. 2021 The delicate object speaks to the artist’s long-standing obsession with porcelain. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dollhouse-Sized Exhibition Will Showcase Mini Creations by Art World Giants," 1 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obsession.' 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 obsession

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about obsession

Time Traveler for obsession

Time Traveler

The first known use of obsession was in 1680

See more words from the same year

Statistics for obsession

Last Updated

22 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for obsession



English Language Learners Definition of obsession

: a state in which someone thinks about someone or something constantly or frequently especially in a way that is not normal
: someone or something that a person thinks about constantly or frequently
: an activity that someone is very interested in or spends a lot of time doing


ob·​ses·​sion | \ əb-ˈse-shən How to pronounce obsession (audio) \

Kids Definition of obsession

: a persistent abnormally strong interest in or concern about someone or something


ob·​ses·​sion | \ äb-ˈsesh-ən, əb- How to pronounce obsession (audio) \

Medical Definition of obsession

: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling also : something that causes such preoccupation — compare compulsion, phobia

Other Words from obsession

obsessional \ -​ˈsesh-​nəl, -​ən-​ᵊl How to pronounce obsession (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on obsession

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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