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 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 In her work, she was driven by an obsession with origins, and also by a conviction that people shouldn’t have to be defined by them. Madeleine Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Sybille Bedford and the Unruly Art of the Origin Story," 29 Mar. 2021 Sundeen develops an obsession for the former rancher that lasts for years, to the detriment of other relationships. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, "Life and Love in the Utah Desert," 26 Mar. 2021 My university’s decision shows how an obsession with diversity has corrupted modern academia. Tristan Yang, National Review, "Columbia University’s Ultra-Woke Idea: Segregated Graduation Ceremonies," 23 Mar. 2021 The world has changed since the scandal around Allen and Farrow’s breakup in 1992, and even more since the 1970s and ’80s, when Allen’s films often seemed to be driven by an obsession with young — and occasionally underage — women. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: What Woody Allen’s defenders are really upset about," 14 Mar. 2021 While the company has earned plaudits for emphasizing self-improvement programs for employees, her lawsuit paints this focus as an obsession that devolved into abuse. Teo Armus, Anchorage Daily News, "Panda Express staff forced to strip at team-building seminar that seemed like ‘a cult initiation ritual,’ lawsuit says," 10 Mar. 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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsession. Accessed 8 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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Comments on obsession

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