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Below are four different situations describing people's obsessions

  1. A friend who loves everything and anything to do with cats. She has five cats at home, and there's more cat food in the house than "human" food.

  2. Another girl friend has a weakness for white-haired men, she finds them irresistible, they don't have to be old-looking, but they must have a mop of white hair or as the Italians say, "salt and pepper hair", but with more salt than pepper.

  3. A male friend only dates women who are petite, and extremely slim; not anorexic but women whose dress sizes are 38 in Italy. I think in the UK that would be equivalent to a size 8.

  4. Another male friend who is mad about skiing, will happily drive for two or three hours until he reaches those snow-capped mountains, and ski uninterrupted from 10.00 in the morning until 04.00pm (when dusk falls).

Now, I could say that they are all obsessed, but that term, more often than not, carries a negative connotation and I don't want to express disapproval.

I could say love but that word is overused, and I want something a little more original.

  • Is there a positive word and/or unusual expression that fits all four scenarios?

It can be slang, American, British, or Australian English, I don't mind. The more original and good-humoured, the better.

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    The first thing that sprang to mind was "to have a passion for", but I'm not sure it would be my first choice in all of the situations you describe and it's not informal. I'll have to think about it some more, but (Mike's answer of ) "really into" is hard to top :) – ColleenV Jan 6 '17 at 13:10
  • I'm not sure there's one word or phrase that fits all of those scenarios, but I like @ColleenV 's suggestion of "into" or "really into". – stangdon Jan 6 '17 at 15:16
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    @stangdon The suggestion was Mike's not Colleen's :) – Mari-Lou A Jan 6 '17 at 15:48
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There are may synonyms out there for obsession in various forms - some can be perfectly fine in one scenario but carry a negative connotation in another, particularly when it comes to personal relationships.

For example, it it perfectly acceptable to be infatuated with a new hobby, but describing oneself as infatuated with a new girlfriend can come across quite badly.

One expression that comes to mind that covers all of the above scenarios without carrying a negative or overbearing connotation is 'really into'. I'm not sure if it fits into your idea of 'original and good-humoured', but consider the following substitutes to your original sentences.

  1. Let's say you have a friend who is really into cats...
  2. Another girlfriend is really into white-haired men...
  3. A male friend is really into women who are petite...
  4. Another male friend who is really into skiing...
  • As long as the term is not pejorative, I'm pleased. Your suggestion is very good, thank you. – Mari-Lou A Jan 6 '17 at 13:10
  • I don't believe so - I've certainly never heard it used in that manner. I would consider it a neutral to positive expression. – mike Jan 6 '17 at 13:12
  • If you can think of any others, you can post them as separate answers. – Mari-Lou A Jan 6 '17 at 16:37
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  1. My friend has a thing for cats
  2. Anna has a thing for white-haired men.
  3. He has always had a thing for petite women.
  4. Another male friend has a thing for skiing

a thing for

informal

Have a strong liking for:

  • ‘She apparently had a thing for smart guys.’
  • ‘Dana had a thing for chocolate - or candy in general.’
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  1. My friend is nuts about cats
  2. Anna is nuts about white-haired men
  3. He has always been nuts about petite women
  4. Another friend is nuts about skiing

be nuts about

Like very much:

  • ‘Andrew, 33, is nuts about classic Harley Davidson motorcycles and little Harley is already following in his footsteps with her own quad bike.’
  • ‘The person I knew was nuts about horses, her whole life was horses.’

P.S Oxford Dictionaries says the phrase is Britshon, it took me a few minutes to realize that it stood for British Only

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