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

The company’s obsession is a lucrative one these days, now that smartphone makers led by Samsung Electronics Co. are trying to bring out foldable phones. Takashi Mochizuki, WSJ, "Does This Foldable Screen Work? There’s a Machine to Test It," 13 May 2019 The obsession with analyzing older women dating younger men is baffling—this isn’t National Geographic and women are not animals. Melanie Hamlett, Glamour, "I Wrote About Having Sex After 40 and It Literally Became International Tabloid News," 26 Apr. 2019 The obsession is justifiable: Their milk is loaded with lactic acid, a dermatological wonder that gently exfoliates, can help reduce signs of aging like spots and sallowness, and can increase skin’s ability to retain moisture. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Goat Milk Is the Secret to Beautiful Skin," 29 Nov. 2018 The play grew out of Kadwani’s obsession with the fatal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in New Delhi in 2012. Patrick Neas, kansascity, "KC Fringe Festival brings an adventurous spirit to classical themes," 13 July 2018 Sterling relates to Doc’s obsession with jazz trivia. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "With music and drama, playwright Joseph Hayes debuts 'Destination Moon'," 10 July 2018 The discovery spawned an obsession that has lasted over a decade. Morgan Smith, chicagotribune.com, "Reclaimed art steals the spotlight at Loyola University Museum of Art's summer exhibitions," 6 July 2018 The producer has become known for showcasing the talents of older actresses, in an industry notorious for its obsession with youth. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The series boasts and all-star cast and a darkly comedic premise.," 25 Mar. 2019 David Reaboi, an anti-Islamist senior vice president at the Security Studies Group, a group known for its obsession with creeping Sharia law, has known John Bolton for years. Tina Nguyen, The Hive, "“Screw Nation Building”: Why the Trump Base Loves John Bolton," 5 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for obsession

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obsession

The first known use of obsession was in 1680

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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 obsessional (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on obsession

What made you want to look up obsession? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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