ob·​ses·​sion äb-ˈse-shən How to pronounce obsession (audio)
: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling
broadly : compelling motivation
an obsession with profits
has an obsession with gambling
: something that causes an obsession
Losing weight can be an obsession that results in the avoidance of certain foods.
obsessional 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 Sandra Oh plays Eve Polastri, an MI6 investigator whose attempt to track down an international assassin known as Villanelle (Jodie Comer) becomes an obsession. Kevin Jacobsen and Sarah Perchikoff, EW.com, 21 May 2024 World premiere standing ovations — who gets a perfunctory three to four minutes, who breaks into double digits — has become an almost manic obsession among festivalgoers, or, more accurately, the film trades, reporters, and online bloggers that cover them. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for obsession 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obsession.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsession was in 1680

Dictionary Entries Near obsession

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ob·​ses·​sion äb-ˈsesh-ən How to pronounce obsession (audio)
: a disturbing concern with an idea or feeling that cannot be put out of mind even when it is seen to be unreasonable
also : such a thought or feeling

Medical Definition


ob·​ses·​sion äb-ˈsesh-ən, əb- How to pronounce obsession (audio)
: a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling
also : something that causes such preoccupation compare compulsion, phobia
obsessional adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on obsession

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