possessive

1 of 2

adjective

pos·​ses·​sive pə-ˈze-siv How to pronounce possessive (audio)
 also  -ˈse-
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
possessively adverb
possessiveness noun

possessive

2 of 2

noun

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

Example Sentences

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
Serious bonding is on the agenda for many reasons this week, including Venus’ tour of possessive Scorpio. The Astrotwins, ELLE, 13 Nov. 2022 This weirdly possessive remark was not widely noted by the mob Taylor had summoned up—perhaps it was politely ignored. WIRED, 22 Oct. 2022 Without a doubt, turnovers are the Achilles Heel for a UAB offense built as a possessive unit, employing the nation’s leader in yards per game (162.5), DeWayne McBride, to power a top-10 rushing attack. Evan Dudley, al, 22 Oct. 2022 Or will the nation that first arrives at AGI be possessive of it, becoming drunk with abject power and going power mad? Lance Eliot, Forbes, 15 Aug. 2022 Roth’s German-speaking mother, from a family of merchants, was tough, hardworking, and possessive. Hermione Lee, The New York Review of Books, 21 Sep. 2022 However, determining who gets credit could be a challenge when the individualistic Aries Moon squares possessive Pluto. Chicago Tribune, 16 Aug. 2022 Would secretive, possessive owners willingly give up their precious companion birds to a conservation program? Grrlscientist, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Needless to say, that new attachment threatens the increasingly possessive, creepy Robert. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 15 June 2022
Noun
Tyler Perry is the type of filmmaker whose name can appear as a possessive in front of a movie’s title. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022 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 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.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near possessive

Cite this Entry

“Possessive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/possessive. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

possessive 1 of 2

adjective

pos·​ses·​sive pə-ˈzes-iv How to pronounce possessive (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or being a grammatical case that shows ownership or a similar relation
2
: showing the desire to possess or control
a possessive attitude
possessively adverb
possessiveness noun

possessive

2 of 2

noun

1
: the possessive case
2
: a noun or pronoun in the possessive case

More from Merriam-Webster on possessive

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