verb pos·sess \pə-ˈzes also -ˈses\

: to have or own (something)

: to have or show (a particular quality, ability, skill, etc.)

of spirits : to enter into and control (someone)

Full Definition of POSSESS

transitive verb
a :  to have and hold as property :  own
b :  to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill
a :  to seize and take control of :  take into one's possession
b :  to enter into and control firmly :  dominate <was possessed by demons>
c :  to bring or cause to fall under the influence, domination, or control of some emotional or intellectual response or reaction <melancholy possesses her>
a obsolete :  to instate as owner
b :  to make the owner or holder —used in passive construction to indicate simple possession <possessed of riches> <possessed of knowledge and experience>
pos·ses·sor noun

Examples of POSSESS

  1. nations that possess nuclear weapons
  2. The defendant was charged with possessing cocaine.
  3. The ruby was once possessed by an ancient queen.
  4. He dreams of someday possessing great wealth.
  5. He possesses a keen wit.
  6. The drug possesses the potential to suppress tumors.
  7. Do dolphins possess the ability to use language?
  8. What would possess seemingly sane people to treat concrete walls like trampolines? —Alice Park, Time, 16 Apr. 2007

Origin of POSSESS

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
First Known Use: 14th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: possessablePrevious Word in the Dictionary: possentrieAll Words Near: possess
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