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Definition: Exaggerated enthusiasm or preoccupation with one thing.

Pronunciation: Mon-oh-may-nee-a


From the Greek “monos,” meaning single or alone and “mania,” meaning madness, enthusiasm, or an inspired frenzy. The English word is fairly young; it only appeared in 1820 or so. It was likely modeled on the French “monomanie.”

Why this word?

Because who hasn’t experienced an inspired frenzy? It gives some credibility to our obsessions and preoccupations. You’re not obsessed with the girl who lives three houses away from you and takes the 7:26 #18 bus to the corner of Broad street and Main, where she goes into Starbucks and buys a grande Veranda Blend and a scone, then walks two blocks to the bank where she works until four; no, you just have a touch of monomania for her life and schedule. It’s essentially synonymous with “obsession,” literally meaning an obsession with one particular thing. Monomania diverges from Obsession in its connotation – an obsession can be harmless, a monomania is nearly always destructive to its host.

How to use monomania in a sentence?

Monomania is a noun. It’s a thing; an object of its own. It can be described with adjectives: “He had an exceptionally intense monomania for eating donuts,” or perform actions: “her monomania grew stronger by the day.”

“Meaghan’s monomania for nineties computing caused her to raid dumpsters, recycling centers and even houses for the perfect beige keyboard.”

“No, I don’t have monomania. I just like rats a whole lot more than I like people; they understand me and I understand them and that’s all I need.”


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Written by Lindsay Kramer

Lindsay Kramer lives in New Jersey and has a large vocabulary. She likes writing, surfing, driving her Altima and playing with her pet rats. One of her favorite things about language is learning about the etymology of words and how they've descended through linguistic families over time. She speaks some German.


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