Definition of possess
2a : to seize and take control of : take into one's possessionb : to enter into and control firmly : dominate was possessed by demonsc : 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 ownerb : 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 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?
Recent Examples of possess from the Web
On Feb. 8, a federal grand jury indicted a Children's Village employee, Taylor Ray Freeman, on three charges of possessing and distributing child pornography.
Roster locks Reason for optimism: When healthy, White still seems to possess the elite combination of speed, power and explosion that convinced the Bears to draft him No.
The certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm charge, that arose from his arrest, is a misdemeanor and has a trial for June 29 at 8:30 a.m. in Mobile District Court in front of Judge Sherling.
Subpoenas were also approved by the committee for documents possessed by the Flynn Intel Group LLC and Michael D. Cohen & Associates PC.
Ex-members say church leaders believe that possessed congregants must have devils beaten or screamed out of them.
Neal possesses the kind of shot that can change the complexion of things dramatically.
Both men were reared in the freewheeling, ruthless world of real estate, and both possess an unshakable self-assurance that is both their greatest attribute and their direst vulnerability.
Williams and Drake each possess the ability to make plays from their traditional positions, or do so outside and in the passing game.
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.
Origin and Etymology of possess
POSSESS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of possess for English Language Learners
: to have or own (something)
: to have or show (a particular quality, ability, skill, etc.)
of spirits : to enter into and control (someone)
POSSESS Defined for Kids
Definition of possess for Students
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?
Legal Definition of possess
: to have possession of
Seen and Heard
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