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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[uh b-sest] /əbˈsɛst/
having an obsession (usually followed by with or by):
He is obsessed with eliminating guilt.
having or displaying signs of an obsession:
The audiophile entered the record store wearing an obsessed smile.
Origin of obsessed
1835-45; obsess + -ed2
Related forms
self-obsessed, adjective
unobsessed, adjective


[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.
1495-1505; < Latin obsessus, past participle of obsidēre to occupy, frequent, besiege, equivalent to ob- ob- + -sid(ēre) combining form of sedēre to sit1
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 obsessed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Suddenly he halted, staring about over the prairie, obsessed by a new thought, an aroused suspicion.

    Keith of the Border Randall Parrish
  • He was obsessed by the idea of the dignity, almost the divinity—of kingship.

  • Had he not been obsessed with the vision of Miss Braithwaite, he would have known that relief followed in his wake.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Her mood was all obsessed now with the conviction that this was the end to her life of a moth.

    Nobody Louis Joseph Vance
  • He was obsessed, almost overpowered, by the mysteriousness of the first floor.

    The Price of Love Arnold Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for obsessed


(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 obsessed

mid-15c., "tormented, obsessed," past participle adjective from obsess. Originally especially "possessed" by a devil, etc.



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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