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.

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Other Words from obsession

obsessional \ äb-​ˈsesh-​nəl How to pronounce obsessional (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Locally caught whitefish is a popular alternative to Minnesota’s walleye obsession and can be ordered a number of different ways. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Keys to Door County: food, hikes and spectacular sunsets," 14 Sep. 2019 But when the killer's crimes begin to defy all scientific explanation, Locke's obsession with finding the truth threatens to destroy his career, his family, and possibly his sanity. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Netflix Celebrated Friday the 13th With New Horror Movies and Shows for Halloween 2019," 13 Sep. 2019 Lurking beneath that obsession with friendship dynamics, however, is the subtler adolescent fear of leaving home and having to find affection on one’s own terms, out in the cold, grown-up world. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Mysteriously Enduring Appeal of Friends," 10 Sep. 2019 His throwback look certainly falls in line with both fashion and Hollywood’s current obsession with the era—but still, the Internet had strong feelings about his facial hair switch-up. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Internet Has Strong Feelings About The Weeknd’s New ’80s ’Stache," 10 Sep. 2019 Among the most popular—and arguably the best—of those Thanksgiving broadcasts is the National Dog Show, a celebration of man's best friend (and the internet's favorite obsession). Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How to Watch the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving," 6 Sep. 2019 Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What is the reason for this obsession with what the royals are wearing — specifically Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle? Ellen Warren, chicagotribune.com, "Fighting with your teen over his sweatpants — time to pick your battles," 4 Sep. 2019 The disposable camera is the antithesis of today’s obsession with perfecting every image before it’s published. Kalyn Kahler, SI.com, "An Unfiltered Look at NFL Training Camps Across the League," 29 Aug. 2019 This, too, is backwards: The circumstances of the era in which art is produced, with all of the squabbles and obsessions of the moment, fall away. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Now Renoir Is Problematic," 27 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of obsession

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for obsession

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obsession

The first known use of obsession was in 1680

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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 obsessional (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on obsession

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