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

Example Sentences

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 All of these have something in common: humanity's relentless obsession with blonde. Arabelle Sicardi, Allure, 19 Nov. 2022 But fashion’s recent obsession with country club athletics and expanding options for virtual and in-person fitness have reignited my interest in all things active. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 Nov. 2022 Two Books on Orchids Rooted high above the ground and extravagant in their variety of forms and colors, orchids inspire obsession. Wsj Books Staff, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 As Assembly speaker, a Bass obsession was pushing through reforms in programs for foster children. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2022 This customer obsession, when coupled with technology and data, has the potential to elevate the entire industry. Robert Reiss, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2022 Banks Compton has a lifelong obsession with butterflies. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, 10 Nov. 2022 The wild season 3 finale saw Joe kill Love before jetting off to Paris in pursuit of his latest obsession Marienne (Tati Gabrielle). Stephanie Wenger, Peoplemag, 9 Nov. 2022 And somebody who has that same drive and obsession and desire for power and order and doing the right thing at whatever the cost. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 3 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 1 Dec. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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