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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web After her role in 1999's American Pie brought her to fame, she was cast as Angela, the teenage cheerleader in American Beauty who is the object of a middle-aged man's obsession, played by Kevin Spacey. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 27 July 2022 The digital obsession with cores—used as a suffix that basically denotes a kind of style—began back in 2013, when the term normcore was first coined by trend forecasters K-Hole as a philosophy of fashion. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, 27 July 2022 This obsession with respect and tolerance for fighting and feuding. Janet Hook, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 Jackson stars as Dan Gallagher, a married man whose brief affair with a woman named Alex (played here by Lizzy Caplan) ends with obsession, violence — and, apparently, another pet bunny boiling on the stove. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 15 June 2022 In his early 20s, McClarnon moved to Nebraska to slow down and get sober and saw an ad at the local theater that was putting on a production of his childhood obsession, Jesus Christ Superstar. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 June 2022 The book is driven by what motivates most good writing about music: obsession. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, 20 May 2022 Fashion's current obsession with remixing outfit ideas from the ’70s, ’90s, and early aughts overlaps neatly with the eras when jean skirts were inescapable. Jake Smith, Glamour, 4 Apr. 2022 Each new obsession, like Radiohead and Bukowski, has had a way of temporarily overtaking his artistic temperament. New York Times, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of obsession

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of obsession was in 1680

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for obsession


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

More from Merriam-Webster on obsession

Nglish: Translation of obsession for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obsession for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obsession


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