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obsess

[uh b-ses]
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verb (used with object)
  1. 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)
  1. 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 sit1
Related formsob·sess·ing·ly, adverbob·ses·sor, noun
Can be confusedabscess obsess

Synonyms

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1. possess, control, haunt.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obsess

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But my fears that their mental suggestions might obsess her were baseless.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • The idea to sell out began to obsess him, and in the end he sold.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild

  • A dangerous thought had come to him and begun to obsess his mind.

    Aladdin of London

    Sir Max Pemberton

  • He could not quite account for this sudden shadow which seemed to obsess the room.

    The Woman Gives

    Owen Johnson

  • What are all the torments of war compared to the thoughts that obsess us night and day?

    Above the Battle

    Romain Rolland


British Dictionary definitions for obsess

obsess

verb
  1. (tr; when passive, foll by with or by) to preoccupy completely; haunt
  2. (intr; 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

Word Origin and History for obsess

v.

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