9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh b-ses] /əbˈsɛs/
verb (used with object)
to dominate or preoccupy the thoughts, feelings, or desires of (a person); beset, trouble, or haunt persistently or abnormally:
Suspicion obsessed him.
verb (used without object)
to think about something unceasingly or persistently; dwell obsessively upon something.
Origin of obsess
1495-1505; < Latin obsessus, past participle of obsidēre to occupy, frequent, besiege, equivalent to ob- ob- + -sid(ēre) combining form of sedēre to sit
Related forms
obsessingly, adverb
obsessor, noun
Can be confused
abscess, obsess.
1. possess, control, haunt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for obsess
  • Almost all of us can find something to obsess about at a restaurant.
  • We stew and obsess and make tiny things into giant ones.
  • They obsess over an occupation that should have been ended decades ago.
  • More than biology, their designs suggest the work of an artist left to obsess among tiny forms.
  • Please try to obsess a little less on your profits, and consider the well-being of your fellow human beings.
  • But that's the difference between people who obsess about fashion and people who obsess about food.
  • She begins to obsess about the possibility of some kind of fatal personal shortcoming.
  • So a lot of people really obsess over the rain, because it can mean the difference between a good year and starvation.
  • How anyone can obsess about the place beggars belief.
  • Both countries obsess over it and have nukes aimed at each other.
British Dictionary definitions for obsess


(transitive; when passive, foll by with or by) to preoccupy completely; haunt
(intransitive; usually foll by on or over) to worry neurotically or obsessively; brood
Word Origin
C16: from Latin obsessus besieged, past participle of obsidēre, from ob- in front of + sedēre to sit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obsess

c.1500, "to besiege," from Latin obsessus, past participle of obsidere "watch closely; besiege, occupy; stay, remain, abide" literally "sit opposite to," from ob "against" (see ob-) + sedere "sit" (see sedentary). Of evil spirits, "to haunt," from 1530s. Psychological sense is 20c. Related: Obsessed; obsessing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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