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 From 1850 onward, eggbeaters became a veritable obsession in the American household. Ben Huberman, Longreads, "“Labor-Saving” Kitchen Gadgets End Up Creating More Work for Women," 3 Nov. 2019 That becomes an obsession for Blaise (David Pasquesi), the local philosopher-slash-marijuana-dispenser. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Save Lodge 49, save the world," 30 Oct. 2019 Meanwhile, Mark’s acknowledged affair became an obsession for Jennair. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Man Whose Wife Murdered Mistress Before Suicide Says She Would Have Killed Him If He Walked in First," 18 Oct. 2019 In the days before fitness gyms became an obsession, the East side was dotted with scores of manufacturing plants. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Adria Litrenta, Peabody-trained musician who co-owned Dundalk’s Pinland duckpin bowling center, dies," 15 Oct. 2019 Long an immutable fixture of life, the dollar has become an obsession. The Economist, "A long-feared currency crisis has begun to bite in Lebanon," 3 Oct. 2019 Before long, my casual stubble gave way to a wiry purgatory, and the strange drama unfolding on my face became an obsession. William Alden, The Atlantic, "Where Toxic Masculinity Goes to Die," 1 Oct. 2019 Adding users became an obsession in those early days of PayPal. Noam Cohen, WIRED, "Facebook’s Libra Reveals Silicon Valley’s Naked Ambition," 19 June 2019 Maintaining it has become a deadly American obsession. Susanna Lee, Quartz, "How the ‘good guy with a gun’ became a deadly American fantasy," 7 June 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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Time Traveler for obsession

Time Traveler

The first known use of obsession was in 1680

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Statistics for obsession

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for obsession


How to pronounce obsession (audio)

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

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


to help to grow, develop, or succeed

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