possess

verb
pos·​sess | \ pə-ˈzes How to pronounce possess (audio) also -ˈses How to pronounce possess (audio) \
possessed; possessing; possesses

Definition of possess

transitive verb

1a : to have and hold as property : own
b : to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill
2a : to seize and take control of : take into one's possession
b : to enter into and control firmly : dominate was possessed by demons
c : to bring or cause to fall under the influence, domination, or control of some emotional or intellectual response or reaction melancholy possesses her
3a obsolete : to instate as owner
b : to make the owner or holder used in passive construction to indicate simple possession possessed of richespossessed of knowledge and experience

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Other Words from possess

possessor \ pə-​ˈze-​sər How to pronounce possess (audio) also  -​ˈse-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for possess

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Examples of possess in a Sentence

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?
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Recent Examples on the Web Studies have shown that even very young children and animals possess such skills to a certain extent. Martin Goldstern, Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2021 As of July 1, Virginia adults can now possess up to an ounce of pot without facing any penalty. Ramsey Archibald | Rarchibald@al.com, al, 1 July 2021 In Alaska, anyone 21 or older can possess up to an ounce of cannabis for personal use. Samantha Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, 28 June 2021 When the law takes effect July 1, using recreational marijuana will be legal and adults 21 and older will be allowed to possess up to one and a half ounces. New York Times, 22 June 2021 Those that get ahead in this new remote world will be those that possess and prioritize a level of deliberateness in their connectedness to management, to their colleagues and to their organizations' missions. Keir Weimer, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 Adults over 21 are able to possess up to an ounce of flower and 3.5 grams of concentrate. Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone, 20 Apr. 2021 The Fighting Irish might indeed possess superior talent across the board and take charge quickly. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 18 Sep. 2021 The proposal would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to purchase, possess and grow marijuana, including up to 12 plants per household with multiple people. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 6 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'possess.' 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 possess

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for possess

Middle English, from Middle French possesser to have possession of, take possession of, from Latin possessus, past participle of possidēre, from potis able, having the power + sedēre to sit — more at potent, sit

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Time Traveler for possess

Time Traveler

The first known use of possess was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near possess

possentrie

possess

possessable

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Statistics for possess

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Possess.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possess. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for possess

possess

verb

English Language Learners Definition of possess

: to have or own (something)
: to have or show (a particular quality, ability, skill, etc.)
: to enter into and control (someone)

possess

verb
pos·​sess | \ pə-ˈzes How to pronounce possess (audio) \
possessed; possessing

Kids Definition of possess

1 : to have and hold as property : own I possess little money.
2 : to have as a characteristic or quality The black wolf also possessed wisdom, she had observed.— Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves
3 : to enter into and control possessed by a demon What possessed you to say that?

Other Words from possess

possessor \ -​ər \ noun

possess

transitive verb
pos·​sess | \ pə-ˈzes How to pronounce possess (audio) \

Legal Definition of possess

: to have possession of

More from Merriam-Webster on possess

Nglish: Translation of possess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of possess for Arabic Speakers

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