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[ puh-zes ]

/ p??z?s /


verb (used with object)

to have as belonging to one; have as property; own: to possess a house and a car.

to have as a faculty, quality, or the like: to possess courage.

(of a spirit, especially an evil one) to occupy, dominate, or control (a person) from within: He thought he was possessed by devils.

(of a feeling, idea, etc.) to dominate or actuate in the manner of such a spirit: He was possessed by envy.

(of a man) to succeed in having sexual intercourse with.

to have knowledge of: to possess a language.

to keep or maintain (oneself, one's mind, etc.) in a certain state, as of peace, patience, etc.

to maintain control over (oneself, one's mind, etc.).

to impart to; inform; familiarize (often followed by of or with): to possess someone of the facts of the case.

to cause to be dominated or influenced, as by an idea, feeling, etc.

to make (someone) owner, holder, or master, as of property, information, etc.: He possessed them of the facts.

to seize or take.

to gain or win.

to occupy or hold.



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Origin of possess

1425–75; late Middle English possesenpossession

synonym study for possess

1. See have.


pos·ses·sor, nounpos·ses·sor·ship, nounun·der·pos·ses·sor, nounun·pos·sess·ing, adjective

Words nearby possess

posology, poss., posse, posse comitatus, posser, possess, possessed, possessed by, possession, possession is nine points of the law, possession order Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Words related to possess

enjoy, own, seize, acquire, occupy, maintain, carry, retain, control, hog, dominate, bear, corner, grab, hold, corner the market, get hold of, lock up, sit on, take over

Example sentences from the Web for possess

British Dictionary definitions for possess


/ (p??z?s) /

verb (tr)

to have as one's property; own

to have as a quality, faculty, characteristic, etcto possess good eyesight

to have knowledge or mastery ofto possess a little French

to gain control over or dominatewhatever possessed you to act so foolishly?

(foll by of) to cause to be the owner or possessorI am possessed of the necessary information

(often foll by with) to cause to be influenced or dominated (by)the news possessed him with anger

to have sexual intercourse with

rare to keep control over or maintain (oneself or one's feelings) in a certain state or conditionpossess yourself in patience until I tell you the news

archaic to gain or seize

Derived forms of possess

possessor, noun

Word Origin for possess

C15: from Old French possesser, from Latin possid?re to own, occupy; related to Latin sed?re to sit

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


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