pos·​ses·​sive | \ pə-ˈze-siv How to pronounce possessive (audio) also -ˈse- \

Definition of possessive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a word, a word group, or a grammatical case that denotes ownership or a relation analogous to ownership
2 : manifesting possession or the desire to own or dominate



Definition of possessive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a possessive word or word group
2a : the possessive case
b : a word in the possessive case

Other Words from possessive


possessively adverb
possessiveness noun

Synonyms for possessive

Synonyms: Adjective

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Examples of possessive in a Sentence

Adjective If you marry him, he is only going to become even more jealous and possessive than he is now. The possessive form of “dog” is “dog's.” “His” and “her” are possessive pronouns. Noun “Your” and “yours” are possessives. The possessive of “it” is “its.”
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In this case, even when given oxytocin, the first lion to get the food typically became possessive and prevented its companions from approaching too closely—typically by growling and snarling. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Mar. 2022 That possessive nationalist rhetoric clashes, however, with increasing numbers of Chinese athletes who consider themselves members of a global sporting community. Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2022 Women, too, get the stubby end of the stick in a film that paints an unflattering picture of possessive masculine entitlement, but doesn’t afford Isadora — despite Lvovsky’s game, ribald performance — much in the way of a point of view. Guy Lodge, Variety, 10 Feb. 2022 Angela could be highly possessive and extremely volatile if any of the Daddy’s Girls failed to live up to her requirements, Chae says. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 5 Nov. 2021 Jacob is being very possessive about the baby, whose name is Renesmee(!). Emma Specter, Vogue, 27 Aug. 2021 In addition to Roberts and Mulroney, standout supporting players include Brian Sacca as a surprisingly indulgent police officer and RZA as a not-so-surprisingly possessive pimp. Joe Leydon, Variety, 15 Oct. 2021 Abby, their behavior toward this child has become possessive and intrusive. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 2 Oct. 2021 Country radio, which still plays a huge role in an artist's success, has been notoriously possessive of acts and has often accused artists trying to crossover to pop of abandoning their base. Melinda Newman, Billboard, 20 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The possessive in the title of Zack Snyder’s Justice League says it all. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 15 Mar. 2021 That titular possessive really is doing a lot of work. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 15 Mar. 2021 Devon and Birmingham unilaterally disposed of the possessive in in all street and road signs in 2009, though the Devon council backtracked shortly after. Roslyn Petelin, Quartz, 10 Dec. 2019 Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr stood on the field at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday — the spot where Minnesota beat the Badgers 37-15 last November — and attached a possessive to a coveted item. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, 24 Nov. 2019 But with great power comes great responsibility: 8 breeds workaholics, and on a bad day, can become excessively controlling and possessive. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, 16 July 2018 Luckily, Salander is a more compelling, surprising, and complex character than Blomkvist, in his possessive and protective desire, can see. Alice Bolin, Longreads, 26 June 2018 Tully is endlessly open and nurturing without seeming possessive, helpful without seeming controlling. David Sims, The Atlantic, 4 May 2018 That’s next-level possessive and a product of unchecked toxic masculinity. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, 9 Feb. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'possessive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of possessive


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for possessive

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The first known use of possessive was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near possessive



possessive adjective

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Statistics for possessive

Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Possessive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possessive. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for possessive


pos·​ses·​sive | \ pə-ˈze-siv How to pronounce possessive (audio) \

Kids Definition of possessive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being or belonging to the case of a noun or pronoun that shows possession "His" is a possessive pronoun.
2 : showing the desire to possess or control : unwilling to share



Kids Definition of possessive (Entry 2 of 2)

: a word or form of a word that shows possession

More from Merriam-Webster on possessive

Nglish: Translation of possessive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of possessive for Arabic Speakers


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