possession

noun
pos·​ses·​sion | \ pə-ˈze-shən also -ˈse- \

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 , -​ˈze-​shə-​nᵊl also  -​ˈsesh-​nəl or  -​ˈse-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
possessionless \ pə-​ˈze-​shən-​ləs , -​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

The game will pair an Iowa State attack that ranks 14th nationally in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency (117.1 points per 100 possessions) against a defense that ranks sixth in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency (88.2). Aaron Beard, The Seattle Times, "TOP 25 THIS WEEK: Big matchups abound in SEC, Big Ten," 12 Feb. 2019 Daniel's eyes had to be digitally altered in his possession scene. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "33 Mind-Blowing "Harry Potter" Movie Facts That'll Make You Want to Watch Them All Over Again," 31 Jan. 2019 John was sentenced to up to six years in prison in Michigan for resisting arrest and possession of drugs. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the Events of Dirty John," 14 Jan. 2019 The Bible alone mentions debt and possessions more than 800 times, according to Forbes. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Tyler Perry paid off 1,500 Walmart layaway accounts, but the service can be risky for low-income shoppers," 12 Dec. 2018 The student shooter was taken into custody, according to WSOC, and the weapon is in police possession. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Butler High School Kept Classes in Session the Day a Fatal Shooting Happened," 29 Oct. 2018 Mystical beauty product pick: Zoya Nail Lacquer in Ryan, $10 (Shop Now) Green Green is the color of Earth, growth, and therefore also of earthly possessions. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Color Magick: A Beginner's Guide to Harnessing the Power of Every Color," 25 Sep. 2018 The difference between beloved possessions and excess stuff had never seemed starker. Lonnie Firestone, Glamour, "It Took a Fire in My Building to Understand Marie Kondo's Method," 15 Jan. 2019 Since then, eight more states and Washington, DC, have followed — although Vermont and DC, while allowing marijuana possession and growing, have continued to bar sales for recreational purposes. German Lopez, Vox, "Marijuana has been legalized in 10 states and Washington, DC," 14 Nov. 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

19 Feb 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 \

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 \

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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a servile follower or underling

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