dis·​pos·​sess | \ ˌdis-pə-ˈzes How to pronounce dispossess (audio) also -ˈses\
dispossessed; dispossessing; dispossesses

Definition of dispossess

transitive verb

: to put out of possession or occupancy dispossessed the nobles of their land

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Other Words from dispossess

dispossession \ ˌdis-​pə-​ˈze-​shən How to pronounce dispossession (audio) also  -​ˈse-​ \ noun
dispossessor \ ˌdis-​pə-​ˈze-​sər How to pronounce dispossessor (audio) also  -​ˈse-​ \ noun

Synonyms for dispossess


divest, expropriate, oust

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Examples of dispossess in a Sentence

The land was settled by dispossessing the native people who lived here. opponents of gentrification claim that the process unfairly dispossesses poorer residents of their long-established homes

Recent Examples on the Web

As the Atlantic reported this week, federally sanctioned farm policies throughout the 20th century dispossessed 1 million black farmers of their land. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "If black families were as rich as white ones, U.S. economy would be $1.5 trillion bigger," 15 Aug. 2019 Dunn started the sequence by dispossessing Danielle van de Donk. Frank Dell’apa, BostonGlobe.com, "Overflowing with talent, US could not be stopped," 7 July 2019 Most Syrians who came to Lebanon since 2011 were impoverished and dispossessed. Washington Post, "In Lebanon, Syrian refugees face new pressure to go home," 21 June 2019 But just as United seemed to be rocking, Maguire had dispossessed Abraham to initiate a counter. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "A Deceiving Scoreline but Man United Exposes Chelsea's Defensive Flaws," 11 Aug. 2019 Once again, Valentin dispossessed Robinho, seemingly knocking the ball out of bounds. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, "Robinho creates opportunities immediately in first start for Orlando City," 20 July 2019 After tracking back 60-some yards, Rooney dispossessed the Orlando player with a bone-crunching slide tackle. Pat Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Wayne Rooney, 'one of the great players in the history of the game,' comes to Cincinnati," 17 July 2019 The Prime Minister has called Maoists the greatest internal threat to the country’s security, but Roy finds men and women who have been repeatedly dispossessed, and who are trying to organize villagers and local tribes into some form of struggle. Samanth Subramanian, The New Yorker, "The Prescient Anger of Arundhati Roy," 12 June 2019 Mostly impoverished and dispossessed, many settled in the country’s east, living in squalid camps and struggling to work and survive in the area known for its harsh winters and sizzling summers. Washington Post, "Tensions force evacuation of Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dispossess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dispossess

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dispossess

Middle French despossesser, from des- dis- + possesser to possess

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Statistics for dispossess

Last Updated

29 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for dispossess

The first known use of dispossess was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of dispossess

formal : to take land, possessions, etc., from (someone)


transitive verb
dis·​pos·​sess | \ ˌdis-pə-ˈzes How to pronounce dispossess (audio) \

Legal Definition of dispossess

: to put out of possession or occupancy — compare evict

Other Words from dispossess

dispossession \ -​ˈze-​shən How to pronounce dispossession (audio) \ noun
dispossessor \ -​ˈze-​sər How to pronounce dispossessor (audio) \ noun

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Comments on dispossess

What made you want to look up dispossess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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