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 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Other details stick for Stewart, like knowing both the Zodiac killer and Van Best enjoyed ciphers and shared an obsession with school buses. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "The Most Dangerous Animal of All Chronicles One Man's Mission to Prove His Father Was the Zodiac Killer," 6 Mar. 2020 This shows, among other things, CEO Rawlinson's obsession with efficiency and miniaturization. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Lucid Shows 400-Mile-Range Air Electric Sedan to Future Owners," 14 Feb. 2020 Justin, a freelance cinematographer, caught the pizza bug a few years ago, developing an obsession that took him from pizza industry expos to Italy itself and back again. oregonlive, "Pizza Doughnais adds some Sicilian style to Portland’s ‘world-class’ pizza scene," 30 Jan. 2020 For some people, there’s an obsession—almost a lifestyle—in finding the perfect bag for every use. Harry Guinness, Popular Science, "The right bag can make a difference in your everyday life," 2 Jan. 2020 The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, in particular, has an infamous obsession with family benefits, opposing any spending on parents and children with the vitriol of a Randian spinster. Samuel Hammond, National Review, "Family-Forward Conservatism Could Be the Future," 18 Dec. 2019 Recent scandals involving test cheating by teachers and bribery by parents serve as powerful reminders that an obsession with winning can eclipse education’s real goal. Richard Gunderman, The Conversation, "3 lessons for today’s teachers and students from coach Vince Lombardi," 16 Dec. 2019 Collins criticizes former sheriff Harvey, accusing him of having an obsession with his mother. Freep.com, "'Handsome' EMU student was unlikely serial killer suspect. Letters, interviews reveal dark side.," 11 Nov. 2019 Bandbox refers to a hugely successful magazine, a glamorous monthly cocktail of 1920s obsessions from the stock market to radio to gangland murder and the man behind it all. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Best-selling author Thomas Mallon’s books on JFK, Bush 43 are coming back as Vintage trade paperbacks," 27 Feb. 2020

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

20 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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