[uh b-ses-iv]
See more synonyms for obsessive on Thesaurus.com
  1. someone who has an obsession or obsessions; a person who thinks or behaves in an obsessive manner.

Origin of obsessive

First recorded in 1910–15; obsess(ion) + -ive
Related formsob·ses·sive·ly, adverbob·ses·sive·ness, nounnon·ob·ses·sive, adjectivenon·ob·ses·sive·ly, adverbnon·ob·ses·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obsessive

Contemporary Examples of obsessive

Historical Examples of obsessive

  • The most common of these obsessive acts is washing with water (washing obsession).

    Totem and Taboo

    Sigmund Freud

  • Throughout his literary activity it has an obsessive hold on his mind.

  • Soukanhoff was right in warning the obsessive to beware of pedantry.

    Why Worry?

    George Lincoln Walton, M.D.

  • Their obsessive striving for the man proves to be determined by their restless flight from the woman.

  • Retrospective worry can be absolutely eliminated from the most obsessive mind by the practice of the veteran's philosophy.

    Why Worry?

    George Lincoln Walton, M.D.

British Dictionary definitions for obsessive


  1. psychiatry motivated by a persistent overriding idea or impulse, often associated with anxiety and mental illness
  2. continually preoccupied with a particular activity, person, or thing
  1. psychiatry a person subject to obsession
  2. a person who is continually preoccupied with a particular activity, person, or thing
Derived Formsobsessively, adverbobsessiveness, noun
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 obsessive

1911, from obsess + -ive. Related: Obsessively. Obsessive-compulsive is attested from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

obsessive in Medicine


[əb-sĕsĭv, ŏb-]
  1. Of, characteristic of, or causing an obsession.
Related formsob•sessive n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.