Why was clemency trending last week?


[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 obsessing
  • Here, as there, the adjustment necessitates the same obsessing obstinacy of recurrence in the memory of the patient.
  • Some comments, as one who's lately been obsessing about morels.
  • We grow our little boys to play rough and aspire to physical dominance, then slam them for obsessing about sports and war.
  • But that's not gonna stop the military from obsessing over them anyway.
  • She designed the entire collection, obsessing over every exotic fold and metallic clasp.
  • However, every hour you spend obsessing over your ex, is an hour you could be working on your research or teaching.
  • Instead of obsessing about revitalising lagging regions, politicians would do better to focus on the people within them.
  • It gives companies the freedom to invest for the long-term rather than obsessing about short-term profits.
  • Economists spent about a century obsessing over efficient markets and building mathematical models.
  • But that doesn't stop this certain group from obsessing over them.
British Dictionary definitions for obsessing


(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 obsessing



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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