[ uhb-sesh-uhn ]
See synonyms for: obsessionobsessions on Thesaurus.com

  1. the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

  2. the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.

  1. the state of being obsessed.

  2. the act of obsessing.

Origin of obsession

First recorded in 1505–15; from Latin obsessiōn-, stem of obsessiō “blockade, siege,” from obsess(us) “occupied, besieged” (past participle of obsidēre “to occupy, besiege”; see obsess) + -iō -ion

Other words from obsession

  • ob·ses·sion·al, adjective
  • non·ob·ses·sion, noun
  • non·ob·ses·sion·al, adjective
  • self-ob·ses·sion, noun

Words Nearby obsession

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use obsession in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for obsession


/ (əbˈsɛʃən) /

  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

  1. the act of obsessing or the state of being obsessed

Derived forms of obsession

  • 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

Cultural definitions for 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.