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

Police found drug paraphernalia on her person at the detention center and the woman was additionally charged with possession of contraband at a place of confinement. Washington Post, "Southern Maryland crime report," 11 Sep. 2019 The passenger was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 9 Sep. 2019 He was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and two drug charges related to that search, according to a criminal complaint. Eric Levenson, CNN, "A mother teaching her teenage son to drive was killed in a road-rage shooting," 5 Sep. 2019 Prescott has a prior assault case that prevents him from having firearms, and the Ramsey County attorney’s office charged him Wednesday with possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "Sister says it’s a miracle pregnant woman wounded outside State Fair is alive," 5 Sep. 2019 Middlesex County authorities said Thomas Kaiser, 55, was charged with possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose. SFChronicle.com, "News of the Day From Across the Nation," 2 Sep. 2019 Colombo was also charged with possession of a firearm. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, "Two men arrested for stealing sandbags from construction site, Volusia deputies say," 2 Sep. 2019 Thomas Kaiser, 55, was arrested and charged with possession of a destructive device for an unlawful purpose, authorities said. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Labor Day parade with New Jersey governor canceled after "destructive devices" found near route," 2 Sep. 2019 He was charged with possession of weapons on campus and for making threats of mass violence, the High Point Police Department said in a statement. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "North Carolina student arrested with guns in his dorm room was planning shooting spree, police say," 29 Aug. 2019

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

17 Sep 2019

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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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