b: to make the owner or holder —used in passive construction to indicate simple possession <possessed of riches><possessed of knowledge and experience>
Examples of POSSESS
nations that possess nuclear weapons
The defendant was charged with possessing cocaine.
The ruby was once possessed by an ancient queen.
He dreams of someday possessing great wealth.
He possesses a keen wit.
The drug possesses the potential to suppress tumors.
Do dolphins possess the ability to use language?
What would possess seemingly sane people to treat concrete walls like trampolines? —Alice Park, Time, 16 Apr. 2007
People who experience specific colors when looking at particular letters, such as seeing sky blue when shown an R, possess an unusual abundance of connections in brain areas involved in word and color perception, a new brain-imaging investigation finds. —Bruce Bower, Science News, 26 May 2007
What does matter is that we come to recognize that playfulness, as a philosophical stance, can be very serious, indeed; and, moreover, that it possesses an unfailing capacity to arouse ridicule and hostility in those among us who crave certainty, reverence, and restraint. —Tom Robbins, Harper's, September 2004
Middle English, from Middle French possesser to have possession of, take possession of, from Latin possessus, past participle of possidēre, from potis able, having the power + sedēre to sit — more at potent, sit