possessed; possessing; possesses
: to seize and take control of : take into one's possession
: to enter into and control firmly : dominate
was possessed by demons
: to bring or cause to fall under the influence, domination, or control of some emotional or intellectual response or reaction
melancholy possesses her
obsolete : to instate as owner
: to make the owner or holder —used in passive construction to indicate simple possession
possessed of richespossessed of knowledge and experience
What would possess seemingly sane people to treat concrete walls like trampolines? —Alice Park, Time, 16 Apr. 2007 People who experience specific colors when looking at particular letters, such as seeing sky blue when shown an R, possess an unusual abundance of connections in brain areas involved in word and color perception, a new brain-imaging investigation finds. —Bruce Bower, Science News, 26 May 2007 What does matter is that we come to recognize that playfulness, as a philosophical stance, can be very serious, indeed; and, moreover, that it possesses an unfailing capacity to arouse ridicule and hostility in those among us who crave certainty, reverence, and restraint. —Tom Robbins, Harper's, September 2004 nations that possess nuclear weapons The defendant was charged with possessing cocaine. The ruby was once possessed by an ancient queen. He dreams of someday possessing great wealth. He possesses a keen wit. The drug possesses the potential to suppress tumors. Do dolphins possess the ability to use language? See More
Recent Examples on the Web Authorities are still looking into how the shooter came to possess the firearms, which all had been bought legally, Dowdy said. —Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 17 May 2023 Highly alkaline soils tend to possess a high amount of calcium to begin with, and adding more calcium can inhibit your grass's ability to absorb other nutrients. —Samantha Jones, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 May 2023 New York state law already bans possessing magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. —Carolyn Thompson, ajc, 14 May 2023 Come up with a new thing to show that a kid is evil, possessed, witnessing something unspeakable, or interacting with a monster! —Vulture, 10 May 2023 Gun access for residents under 18 Aside from some activities, such as hunting and a shooting range with adult supervision, Texas residents under 18 are not allowed to carry or possess a firearm. —Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 10 May 2023 Thompson said McFadden was a Level 4 inmate for most of his incarceration, however, he was assigned to Level 1 in January 2017 following his misconduct occurring for possessing a contraband cellphone. —Josh Dulaney, USA TODAY, 4 May 2023 Board members should possess sufficient strategic and operating sophistication and judgment to enable them to appreciate the unique vulnerabilities of the company and its business model. 2. —Michael Peregrine, Forbes, 3 May 2023 Paul Belloisi, 55, was convicted of three counts of an indictment, including conspiring to possess cocaine, conspiring to import cocaine and importing cocaine. —Alexandra Skores, Dallas News, 3 May 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'possess.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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