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possess definition


This page has 3 definitions of possess in English. Possess is a verb. Examples of how to use possess in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .



From Middle English possessen, from Old French possesser (to possess), from Latin possessus, past participle of possideō.



possess (third-person singular simple present possesses, present participle possessing, simple past and past participle possessed)

  1. (transitive) To have; to have ownership of.
    He does not even possess a working telephone.
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VII, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. [], volume III, London: [] [Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744, page 162:
      Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds, which hardly any later friend can obtain.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest, OL 1521052W:
      He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
  2. (transitive) To take control of someone's body or mind, especially in a supernatural manner.
    They thought he was possessed by evil spirits.
    What on earth possessed you to go walking by the quarry at midnight?
  3. (transitive, dated) Chiefly followed by of: to vest ownership in (someone or oneself); to give (someone) knowledge or power; to acquaint, to inform (someone).


  • ((with of), to vest ownership): seise
  • (qualities or characteristics): inhold


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