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From Latin obsessus, perfect passive participle of obsideō (sit on or in, remain, besiege), from ob (before) + sedeō (I sit); see sit, session, etc.; compare assess, possess.


  • IPA(key): /əbˈsɛs/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


obsess (third-person singular simple present obsesses, present participle obsessing, simple past and past participle obsessed)

  1. (passive, constructed with "with") To be preoccupied with a single topic or emotion.
    Some people are obsessed with sports.
    • 2014 June 21, “Magician’s brain”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8892:
      The [Isaac] Newton that emerges from the [unpublished] manuscripts is far from the popular image of a rational practitioner of cold and pure reason. The architect of modern science was himself not very modern. He was obsessed with alchemy.
  2. (transitive) To dominate the thoughts of someone.
    Thoughts of her obsess my every waking moment.
  3. (intransitive, colloquial, construed with over) To think or talk obsessively about.
    Stop obsessing over it, will you!

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