self-pos·​sessed ˌself-pə-ˈzest How to pronounce self-possessed (audio)
 also  -ˈsest
: having or showing self-possession : composed in mind or manner : calm
ˌself-pə-ˈze-səd-lē How to pronounce self-possessed (audio)

Examples of self-possessed in a Sentence

a supremely self-possessed teacher who could handle any crisis
Recent Examples on the Web On one side, the Glass House, transparent and entirely self-possessed, a work of modernist daring framed in steel and inspired, as Johnson was only too happy to admit, by the designs of his hero, the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Christopher Hawthorne, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 But Gauff’s ability—at a mere 19 years of age—to play the fiercest tennis on the tour while remaining almost ridiculously self-possessed is a thing to behold, and should serve her well here. Corey Seymour, Vogue, 6 Mar. 2024 Older Rita is still self-possessed but, as written, there’s a distance that smooths the edges, turns her into a saintly figure and saps the character of the charge that keeps someone married for decades. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Feb. 2024 As a world-builder, Regan has made a film every bit as feisty, self-possessed and street-smart as Georgie herself. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 Watching the film and seeing these many elements somehow cohesively combined, there’s the sense that Smith, who in person is both self-possessed and warm, is always in control. Elaina Patton, NBC News, 28 July 2023 That’s so self-possessed and smart of you to ask for a therapist. Lacey Rose, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-possessed.' 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

1766, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-possessed was in 1766

Dictionary Entries Near self-possessed

Cite this Entry

“Self-possessed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: having or showing self-possession : calm
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