Check out new words added to


[uh b-sesh-uh n] /əbˈsɛʃ ən/
the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.
the state of being obsessed.
the act of obsessing.
Origin of obsession
1505-15; < Latin obsessiōn- (stem of obsessiō) blockade, siege, equivalent to obsess(us) (see obsess) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
obsessional, adjective
nonobsession, noun
nonobsessional, adjective
self-obsession, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for obsession
  • The personal stories shed a light on the intimate involvement of people with their obsession.
  • His dark eyes and heavy brow now seem right for obsession.
  • One correctional officer became a particular obsession.
  • Here the hawkers ladle out the wildly diverse local fare that serves as both national obsession and metaphor.
  • Professors' obsession with citation formatting is relatively new.
  • In the wink of an eye, insomnia slips from thought to obsession, from earnest doubt to pitiless masochism and misanthropy.
  • Besides my obsession with sandwiches there is something else going on here, cognitively speaking.
  • The current students' obsession with grading can be solved with numerous instruments--feedback can be numeric or commentary.
  • Our obsession with musical nostalgia is strangling pop.
  • Why the obsession with our kids' happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods.
British Dictionary definitions for obsession


(psychiatry) a persistent idea or impulse that continually forces its way into consciousness, often associated with anxiety and mental illness
a persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling
the act of obsessing or the state of being obsessed
Derived Forms
obsessional, adjective
obsessionally, adverb
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for obsession

1510s, "action of besieging," from French obsession and directly from Latin obsessionem (nominative obsessio) "siege, blockade, a blocking up," noun of action from past participle stem of obsidere "to besiege" (see obsess). Later (c.1600), "hostile action of an evil spirit" (like possession but without the spirit actually inhabiting the body). Transferred sense of "action of anything which engrosses the mind" is from 1670s. Psychological sense is from 1901.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
obsession in Medicine

obsession ob·ses·sion (əb-sěsh'ən, ŏb-)

  1. Compulsive preoccupation with an idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.

  2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

ob·ses'sion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
obsession in Culture

obsession definition

A preoccupation with a feeling or idea. In psychology, an obsession is similar to a compulsion.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for obsession

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for obsession

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with obsession

Nearby words for obsession