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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Silicon Valley’s obsession with the future and lack of interest in the past grate on historians. Philip Delves Broughton, WSJ, "‘If Then’ Review: Big Data’s Baby Steps," 18 Sep. 2020 An obsession with academic meritocracy also puts enormous pressure on higher-achieving kids to sacrifice everything to get into the best schools. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Genetics Affect Intelligence: Confronting the Consequences, from the Left," 17 Sep. 2020 An obsession with a wild goose chase can drive a wedge of misunderstanding between you and a more practical companion. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for August 31, 2020: Happy birthday Richard Gere; Capricorn, be sensitive to people’s feelings," 31 Aug. 2020 Even Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who hosted the final night of the DNC, could confirm Biden's ice cream obsession. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Joe Biden's Grandkids Gift Him with Ice Cream After He Accepts the Democratic Nomination," 21 Aug. 2020 The founder of the booming retailer Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, was talking about his obsession with improving the customer experience more than two decades ago. Star Tribune, "The best-kept secret in town? An at-home workout provider takes off in the pandemic," 13 Aug. 2020 Caligula, the Roman emperor best known for his profligacy, sadism, rumored incestuous relationships and unhealthy obsession with a horse, wasn’t exactly handsome. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Peer Into the Past With Photorealistic Portraits of Roman Emperors," 13 Aug. 2020 Others may take this obsession in a different direction. Brett Berk, Car and Driver, "Playing with Cars: How Kids Become Adults Obsessed with Machines," 9 Aug. 2020 Dayton police said Betts had an obsession with violence and mass shootings and had expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting, but have not determined exactly what led Betts to choose that location at that time. Claire Colbert, CNN, "Dayton will mark mass shooting anniversary virtually amid Covid-19 pandemic," 4 Aug. 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.

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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

24 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

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

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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

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