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 Fitting, since the characters in this startling, dramatic and relevant novel all have their own obsessions, most of them centered on a woman’s place in 17th-century Europe. Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post, "In ‘The Mercies,’ a deadly storm isn’t the only danger for a Scandinavian community," 17 Feb. 2020 The Labour Party can be forgiven some of its obsession with class given the shock of its defeat in the general election. The Economist, "Bagehot The perils of Lennonism," 13 Feb. 2020 This nearby region may be your next travel obsession. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 5 Feb. 2020 In her March fashion portfolio, Roitfeld and photographer Sebastian Faena took her obsession with characters to a place where identity is often first defined: the university campus. Harper's BAZAAR, "Some Say Love," 3 Feb. 2020 But while the case wasn’t closed, his colleagues were increasingly busy with other cases and some of his supervisors were seemingly tired of his obsession. Tim Golden, ProPublica, "Operation Encore and the Saudi Connection: A Secret History of the 9/11 Investigation," 23 Jan. 2020 Friends may have aired its last episode almost 16 years ago, but our obsession with the sitcom will never cease. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "'Friends' Trivia Coasters Are Here to Add a Little Competition to Your Social Gatherings," 16 Jan. 2020 The scene is a typically tongue-twisty back-and-forth between the self-important Harvard student (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and his weary girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara) over his obsession with the university’s elite final clubs. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The 10 Best Movie Scenes of the 2010s," 31 Dec. 2019 Truth Be Told at least offers the germ of a good idea, steeped in the eerie, voyeuristic calculus of our cultural obsession with true crime. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to Watch (and Skip) in Theaters and on Amazon Prime This Weekend," 6 Dec. 2019

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

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Obsession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsessional?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=o&file=obsess03. Accessed 23 Feb. 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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