possession

noun
pos·​ses·​sion | \ pə-ˈze-shən also -ˈse- How to pronounce possession (audio) \

Definition of possession

1a : the act of having or taking into control
b : control or occupancy of property without regard to ownership
c : ownership
d : control of the ball or puck also : an instance of having such control (as in football) scored on their first two possessions
2 : something owned, occupied, or controlled : property
3a : domination by something (such as an evil spirit, a passion, or an idea)
b : a psychological state in which an individual's normal personality is replaced by another

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Other Words from possession

possessional \ pə-​ˈzesh-​nəl How to pronounce possessional (audio) , -​ˈze-​shə-​nᵊl also  -​ˈsesh-​nəl or  -​ˈse-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
possessionless \ pə-​ˈze-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce possessionless (audio) , -​ˈse-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for possession

Synonyms

control, enjoyment, hands, keeping

Antonyms

nonpossession

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Examples of possession in a Sentence

The city can take possession of the abandoned buildings. She came into possession of a rare silver coin. The family lost all of its possessions in the fire. This ring was my mother's most precious possession. The defendant was charged with heroin possession.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And so, the people with lands and possessions built castles for protection. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 In fact, there were actually more marijuana arrests in 2017 than 2016, and 90 percent were for possession alone. . Amber Senter, Marie Claire, "We Have to Acknowledge That CBD Use Is a Privilege," 11 Apr. 2019 According to the Federal Reserve, 40 percent of American adults would have to borrow money or sell possessions or simply be unable to pay if faced with an unexpected $400 emergency. Bryce Covert, Glamour, "America Could at Last Pass Paid Leave. But What Good Is a Plan That Excludes Millions of Women?," 2 Apr. 2019 Rubio and Ingles answered with three straight baskets to prevent the Wizards from making it a one-possession game. John Coon, The Seattle Times, "Mitchell powers Jazz to 128-124 win over Wizards," 29 Mar. 2019 Her sudden boost in confidence and self-possession is underlined by her (borrowed!) powder blue Marchesa dress. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Most Stylish Movies and TV Shows of 2018," 17 Dec. 2018 Rich user data is Facebook’s most prized possession, and the company sure isn’t throwing it in for free. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why we can’t stop debating whether Facebook sells data," 14 Dec. 2018 The agreement bans the possession, production, or flight testing of ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,420 miles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why the U.S. Is Quitting a Key Nuclear Weapons Treaty," 5 Dec. 2018 The Second House is related to our personal finances, material possessions, and the concept of value. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018

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

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

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Statistics for possession

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for possession

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

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More Definitions for possession

possession

noun

English Language Learners Definition of possession

formal : the condition of having or owning something
: something that is owned or possessed by someone
law : the crime of having something that is illegal (such as a drug or weapon)

possession

noun
pos·​ses·​sion | \ pə-ˈze-shən How to pronounce possession (audio) \

Kids Definition of possession

1 : the condition of having or owning something The will is in my possession.
2 : something that is held by someone as property a valuable possession

possession

noun
pos·​ses·​sion | \ pə-ˈze-shən How to pronounce possession (audio) \

Legal Definition of possession

1 : the act, fact, or condition of having control of something: as
a : actual possession in this entry
b : constructive possession in this entry
c : knowing dominion and control over a controlled substance or other contraband
d in the civil law of Louisiana : the detention or enjoyment of a corporeal thing
e : control or occupancy of property
actual possession
1 : direct occupancy, use, or control of real property had actual possession of the land despite a lack of legal title
2 : direct physical custody, care, or control of property or contraband (as illegal drugs) actual possession is not necessary to sustain a convictionState v. Garrison, 896 S.W.2d 689 (1995)
adverse possession
: actual possession of another's real property that is open, hostile, exclusive, continuous, adverse to the claim of the owner, often under a claim of right or color of title, and that may give rise to title in the possessor if carried out for a specified statutory period (as ten years) also : the method of acquiring title by such possession — see also hostile possession and notorious possession in this entry — compare prescription
civil possession
in the civil law of Louisiana : possession that exists by virtue of an intent to be the owner of a property even though one no longer occupies or has physical control of it
constructive possession
1 : possession that exists by virtue of a right (as by title) rather than direct occupancy or control
2 : the knowing ability and sometimes intent to exercise dominion and control over something (as illegal drugs) either directly or through others
hostile possession
: possession (as in adverse possession) that is antagonistic to the claims of all others (as a record owner) and that is carried out with the intention to possess the property exclusively
notorious possession
: possession (as in adverse possession) that is so conspicuous that it is generally known by people in the vicinity of the property and so gives rise to a presumption that the owner has notice of it
precarious possession
in the civil law of Louisiana : possession of property that is exercised by another (as a lessee) with the permission of or on behalf of the owner — see also acquisitive prescription at prescription
2 : something controlled, occupied, or owned personal possessions

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