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[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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for obsessions
  • Fitting, then, that one of his obsessions is biodiversity.
  • My dogs' obsessions are different from yours, but similar.
  • Phobias, panic attacks and obsessions are caused by intrusions of the hidden drives into voluntary behavior.
  • The collected results reveal personal obsessions and material phenomena.
  • If their behavior sometimes seems bizarre, their obsessions are often magnificent.
  • My bibliophilic obsessions are not limited to old books.
  • Many of us spend lots of time on neurotic obsessions.
  • The findings suggest a number of therapies for memory impairment as well as outsize obsessions and fears.
  • If you're not in the mood for my obsessions, then you may not be in the mood for my film.
  • His customers aren't old friends or new obsessions or lovable eccentrics.
British Dictionary definitions for obsessions


(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
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Word Origin and History for obsessions



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
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obsessions 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.
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obsessions 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.
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