verb pos·sess \pə-ˈzes also -ˈses\

: to have or own (something)

: to have or show (a particular quality, ability, skill, etc.)

of spirits : to enter into and control (someone)

Full Definition of POSSESS

transitive verb
a :  to have and hold as property :  own
b :  to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill
a :  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>
a obsolete :  to instate as owner
b :  to make the owner or holder —used in passive construction to indicate simple possession <possessed of riches> <possessed of knowledge and experience>
pos·ses·sor noun

Examples of POSSESS

  1. What would possess seemingly sane people to treat concrete walls like trampolines? —Alice Park, Time, 16 Apr. 2007

Origin of 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
First Known Use: 14th century
POSSESS Defined for Kids


verb pos·sess \pə-ˈzes\

Definition of POSSESS for Kids

:  to have and hold as property :  own <I possess little money.>
:  to have as a characteristic or quality <The black wolf also possessed wisdom, she had observed. — Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves>
:  to enter into and control <possessed by a demon> <What possessed you to say that?>
pos·ses·sor \-ər\ noun


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