possess

verb
pos·​sess | \ pə-ˈzes How to pronounce possess (audio) also -ˈses How to pronounce possess (audio) \
possessed; possessing; possesses

Definition of possess

transitive verb

1a : to have and hold as property : own
b : to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill
2a : 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
3a obsolete : to instate as owner
b : to make the owner or holder used in passive construction to indicate simple possession possessed of richespossessed of knowledge and experience

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Other Words from possess

possessor \ pə-​ˈze-​sər also  -​ˈse-​ How to pronounce possessor (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for possess

Synonyms

command, enjoy, have, hold, own, retain

Antonyms

lack, want

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Examples of possess in a Sentence

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 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?
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ashlea was loyal to a fault, possessed a very strong will, was up front with her feelings and beliefs and a devoted 'mother' to her beloved dog Trigger. orlandosentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 7/18," 18 July 2019 The rookie slugger has started only one game in left field since injuring it, but still possesses a 1.079 OPS and .677 slugging percentage across his first 112 plate appearances. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros give Yordan Álvarez a day off," 17 July 2019 In December 2012, she was deported from the United States after pleading guilty in federal court to possessing a fraudulent visa. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "As druglord Joaquin Guzman got life in prison, his daughter launched her El Chapo clothing line," 17 July 2019 On top of players and developers alike possessing a willingness to build upon existing gaming technology, the industry is attracting investors and partners all over the world. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Video Games Are One of The Biggest Tech Incubators Available," 16 July 2019 The organization issued its final report on the content in March, which found that some 300 of the images Costandine possessed depicted child victims known to law enforcement, the complaint said. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man viewed child pornography from workplace, charges say," 12 July 2019 The mission will also serve as a proof of principle, demonstrating that India possesses the technical prowess not only to land on the moon but also to remotely operate a robotic rover there. Shekhar Chandra, Scientific American, "What to Expect from India’s Second Moon Mission," 12 July 2019 Think of it as possessing a vast library and understanding how to use it. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, "How To Embrace Professional Decline," 10 July 2019 In addition, Balletto admitted to possessing several firearms, including two .223-caliber assault rifles, prosecutors said. Jaclyn Cosgrove, latimes.com, "California man who kept runaway teen in metal box at pot farm sentenced to 31 years in prison," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'possess.' 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 possess

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for possess

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for possess

The first known use of possess was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for possess

possess

verb

English Language Learners Definition of possess

formal : to have or own (something)
: to have or show (a particular quality, ability, skill, etc.)
of spirits : to enter into and control (someone)

possess

verb
pos·​sess | \ pə-ˈzes How to pronounce possess (audio) \
possessed; possessing

Kids Definition of possess

1 : to have and hold as property : own I possess little money.
2 : to have as a characteristic or quality The black wolf also possessed wisdom, she had observed.— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
3 : to enter into and control possessed by a demon What possessed you to say that?

Other Words from possess

possessor \ -​ər \ noun

possess

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

Legal Definition of possess

: to have possession of

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More from Merriam-Webster on possess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with possess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for possess

Spanish Central: Translation of possess

Nglish: Translation of possess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of possess for Arabic Speakers

Comments on possess

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something desired as essential

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