possession

noun

pos·​ses·​sion pə-ˈze-shən How to pronounce possession (audio)
 also  -ˈse-
1
a
: the act of having or taking into control
b
: control or occupancy of property without regard to ownership
c
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
3
a
: 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
possessional
pə-ˈzesh-nəl How to pronounce possession (audio)
-ˈze-shə-nᵊl
 also  -ˈsesh-nəl
 or  -ˈse-shə-nᵊl
adjective
possessionless adjective

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Alejandro Lopez, 20, was sentenced earlier this month to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, court records show. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 10 July 2024 The Dutch have controlled possession for the most part in this tournament, but were outpossessed 62-38 by the French. David Faris, Newsweek, 10 July 2024 Documents added that police found the gun and holster that Jones had in his possession showed damage of a projectile strike, indicating the gun was holstered when Majok fired. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 10 July 2024 According to the New York Daily News, police said Irish’s criminal history dates back to as early as 1985 on crimes including robbery, assault, arson and drug possession. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 10 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for possession 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'possession.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near possession

Cite this Entry

“Possession.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possession. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

possession

noun
pos·​ses·​sion pə-ˈzesh-ən How to pronounce possession (audio)
1
a
: the act of possessing or holding as one's own : ownership
b
: control of property without regard to ownership
2
a
: something held as one's own
b
: an area under the control of but not actually part of a nation
island possessions of the U.S.
3
: control by an idea or influence from outside oneself

Legal Definition

possession

noun
pos·​ses·​sion pə-ˈze-shən How to pronounce possession (audio)
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
: direct occupancy, use, or control of real property had actual possession of the land despite a lack of legal title
: 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
: possession that exists by virtue of a right (as by title) rather than direct occupancy or control
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on possession

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