ob·​ses·​sive äb-ˈse-siv How to pronounce obsessive (audio)
: tending to cause obsession
: excessive often to an unreasonable degree
: of, relating to, or characterized by obsession : deriving from obsession
obsessive noun
obsessively adverb
obsessiveness noun

Examples of obsessive in a Sentence

Many dancers are obsessive about their weight. He is an obsessive workaholic who never stops thinking about his job. an obsessive interest in space travel The new therapy is supposed to help people control their obsessive thoughts.
Recent Examples on the Web Engaged in a steamy love triangle and targeted by an obsessive attacker, Shams escapes to the capital city. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 30 Nov. 2023 Teresa’s almost obsessive reminiscing about her previous jobs is an expression of her desire to impose a storyline on her life. Bekah Waalkes, The Atlantic, 17 Nov. 2023 But this preoccupation with the erotic world would not become so obsessive if Eros were healthy. Armond White, National Review, 4 Oct. 2023 Fraser, a 52-year-old life-long resident of Edinburgh with a lilting brogue, is an obsessive genealogist and historian who can help those with Scottish ancestry trace their roots and choose tartans that match their family heritage. Ross Kenneth Urken, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 Depression is defined by a cluster of symptoms — deep sadness, obsessive self-blame, slowed thought and speech, problems with eating and sleeping, suicidal thoughts, a loss of the ability to experience pleasure, and more. Peter D. Kramer, STAT, 16 Nov. 2023 Michael Mann is a filmmaker known for his exacting, obsessive attention to detail. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 Thoughts of food and the methods to eliminate it had become obsessive, dominating her day and disrupting her sleep. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Oct. 2023 His creative process works in the same obsessive way. Sam Sodomsky, Pitchfork, 30 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obsessive.' 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

1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of obsessive was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near obsessive

Cite this Entry

“Obsessive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obsessive. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ob·​ses·​sive äb-ˈses-iv How to pronounce obsessive (audio)
: of, relating to, having, or being an obsession
obsessively adverb

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
ob·​ses·​sive äb-ˈses-iv, əb- How to pronounce obsessive (audio)
: of, relating to, causing, or characterized by obsession : deriving from obsession
obsessive behavior
obsessively adverb
obsessiveness noun


2 of 2 noun
: an obsessive individual

More from Merriam-Webster on obsessive

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