Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

obsession

[uh b-sesh-uh n]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
  2. the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.
  3. the state of being obsessed.
  4. 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 formsob·ses·sion·al, adjectivenon·ob·ses·sion, nounnon·ob·ses·sion·al, adjectiveself-ob·ses·sion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obsession

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He clasped his head in his hands and strove to clear his mind for a moment from obsession.

    Viviette

    William J. Locke

  • It haunted me; it was an obsession and a perpetual nightmare.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • As I drudged on down there in the warehouse, my bitterness became an obsession.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • But naturally Peter did not confide his obsession to Lalkhan.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • Paula looked appealingly at Bell, but he had become a man with an obsession.


British Dictionary definitions for obsession

obsession

noun
  1. psychiatry a persistent idea or impulse that continually forces its way into consciousness, often associated with anxiety and mental illness
  2. a persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling
  3. the act of obsessing or the state of being obsessed
Derived Formsobsessional, adjectiveobsessionally, 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

Word Origin and History for obsession

n.

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

obsession in Medicine

obsession

(əb-sĕshən, ŏb-)
n.
  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.
Related formsob•session•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

obsession in Culture

obsession

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

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.