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 How to pronounce possess (audio) also  -​ˈse-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for possess

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 Other ludicrous ideologies include ultranationalism, and hypercapitalism, because your character isn’t sane enough to possess a normal political opinion. Laurence Russell, Wired, 7 June 2021 Collector and connoisseur Vic Clinco, who is believed to possess the largest collection of hot sauces in the world, will be on hand, as will Fort Worth chef Jon Bonnell and barbecue expert Eddie Deen, who will be cooking on the celebrity chef stage. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 3 June 2021 Tamadre Dandre Williams, 29, is charged with murder, certain persons forbidden to possess a firearm and four counts of reckless endangerment. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 3 June 2021 Because to be Jamaican is to possess an innate confidence and pride that has nothing to do with your station in life. Travel + Leisure, 1 June 2021 In the United States, nursing transformed from a skill all women were expected to possess and practice for their families and communities into a profession with specialized education and credentialing. Anna Reser, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 May 2021 The poll, released Tuesday, shows 63.9% of respondents either strongly or somewhat support allowing adults 21 and older to possess marijuana for their personal use. Russell Blair, courant.com, 18 May 2021 Century coach Sara Figuly said her teams strive to possess the ball, so Greenwade makes that transition with more ease. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 17 May 2021 Instagram Q&A comes shortly after the former professional football player told Variety he was blackmailed into coming out publicly by someone who claimed to possess photos of him visiting a spa known for catering to a gay clientele. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for possess

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for possess

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Possess.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possess. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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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