Definition of possession
1a : the act of having or taking into controlb : control or occupancy of property without regard to ownershipc : ownershipd : 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 anotherc : self-possession
possessionalplay \-ˈzesh-nəl, -ˈze-shə-nəl also -ˈsesh-nəl or -ˈse-shə-nəl\ adjective
possessionlessplay \-ˈze-shən-ləs, -ˈse-\ 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 of possession from the Web
Hit his 108th career home run as a Mariner, breaking his tie with Ichiro Suzuki and Richie Sexson for sole possession of 11th place in club history.
According to the New York Times, of the 54 million passengers who went through Denver International Airport in 2015, the TSA stopped only 29 for possession of marijuana.
If prosecuted for possession of a firearm, Jelks faces a minimum three-year prison sentence.
Marvin Eliott Germain, 22, was indicted on one count of possession of unauthorized or counterfeit access devices, Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams announced.
But drama related to money, possessions, or family has your wheels spinning midweek.
The Mercury ranked second in defensive rating, allowing 97.8 points per 100 possessions.
Her possessions include a couple of pairs of skimpy shorts, some voluntary skin ink and a sullen attitude.
A couple of hulking vintage Vandercook printing presses—Cadillacs of the trade and prized possessions—also take refuge among the 30 tons of gear strewn about the place.
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.
First Known Use of possession
POSSESSION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of possession for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of possession for Students
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
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 conviction — State 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
Learn More about possession
See words that rhyme with possession Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for possession Spanish Central: Translation of possession Nglish: Translation of possession for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of possession for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about possession
Seen and Heard
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