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
Six weeks after he was released from prison, a Johnson County man was back in custody Friday for possessing a gun found after an Olathe traffic crash.
An injury sidelined Rose in the spring game, but he also is supposed to possess breakaway speed and could pass King for the No. 2 job.
The traders who possessed shipper history could basically make money doing nothing.
Meantime this, from the NYTimes: So the Capitol game went on with one noticeable change — the strategic decision to postpone a hearing on legislation strongly sought by the gun lobby to end 80-year-old restrictions on possessing gun silencers.
With Ownby possessing on the right side of the 18-yard box, Smith made a late run forward.
In addition to the driver suspected of DUI, one motorist was arrested on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia, police said.
Patrick Callahan, 21, Matthew Moll, 21, and Dylan Morose, 22, all of Mansfield, were initially charged with eight counts of permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol.
In general, the state will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six marijuana plants at home.
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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