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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Like his peers, Langmuir had been brought up in the Gospel of Personal Cleanliness, an obsession that made handwashing the bedrock of US public health policy. Megan Molteni, Wired, "The Teeny, Tiny Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill," 13 May 2021 In stark contrast to many other tech companies, Apple has never had an overriding obsession with being the first company to bring a product or technology to market. Yoni Heisler, BGR, "You finally got 5G on your iPhone – but here’s why you might want to disable it," 7 May 2021 For one thing, Clooney harbors an unhealthy obsession with his Oceans movie costar Brad Pitt. Andrea Towers, EW.com, "George Clooney is a Brad Pitt fanboy and worst pandemic roommate in hilarious parody," 5 May 2021 Set in a dark fictional future, characters become victims of the technology that surrounds them, or have an unhealthy obsession with the media. Frank Fitzpatrick, Forbes, "Back To The Future: 3 Ways Entertainment Defines Tech And Wellness," 7 Apr. 2021 Both games have an obsession with philosophical themes. Washington Post, "‘Nier Replicant’ is for anyone who regrets playing ‘Automata’ first," 29 Mar. 2021 In the film, Kane’s second wife, Susan Alexander, is portrayed as an untalented opera singer, whose career becomes an obsession for him. Alice George, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Lasting Riddles of Orson Welles’ Revolutionary Film ‘Citizen Kane’," 30 Apr. 2021 For all of us, my husband and me as well as our two daughters, getting a puppy became an obsession. Nicole Chung, Time, "How a Pandemic Puppy Saved My Grieving Family," 6 Apr. 2021 Hard work and an obsession to learn is paying off brother!! Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "For Cincinnati Reds, MLB's non-tender deadline will be telling; Eric Jagers named to staff," 5 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.

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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

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 obsession (audio) \ adjective

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