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 But the Chicago native’s obsession with the Bulls’ 1990s basketball dynasty, and his own determination to gain a foothold in the entertainment industry, led him to investigate the origins of the phenomenon that Jordan’s signature sneaker inspired, and the people who drove it. Todd Gilchrist, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 Online detective groups often tread a delicate line between altruistic investigation and mob obsession. Deidre Olsen, WIRED, 15 Nov. 2023 The pair spent time together in the south of France on a yacht owned by Dodi’s father (the billionaire businessman and then-owner of Harrods department store Mohamed Al Fayed) — and kicked off a whirlwind romance that became the obsession of the tabloid press. Lynsey Eidell, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 The clear vision, comfort – even obsession with – change, catalytic action, and fearless approach of Game Changers are necessary ingredients for transformation. Nell Derick Debevoise, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Yanai’s sobering pitch is that Japan’s economy is teetering on a precipice because of an unhealthy obsession with manufacturing, workers conditioned to corporate bloat, and a budget financed by soaring debt rather than tax receipts. Time, 13 Nov. 2023 Pick Three The staff writer Vinson Cunningham shares current obsessions. Condé Nast, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 Learn more › House plants can quickly become an obsession. Helen Bradshaw, Popular Science, 9 Nov. 2023 Which is part of my obsession with terra cotta pots. Kriston Capps, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2023 See More

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 3 Dec. 2023.

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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