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[puh-zes-iv] /pəˈzɛs ɪv/
jealously opposed to the personal independence of, or to any influence other than one's own upon, a child, spouse, etc.
desirous of possessing, especially excessively so:
Young children are so possessive they will not allow others to play with their toys; a possessive lover.
of or relating to possession or ownership.
  1. indicating possession, ownership, origin, etc. His in his book is a possessive adjective. His in The book is his is a possessive pronoun.
  2. noting or pertaining to a case that indicates possession, ownership, origin, etc., as, in English, John's in John's hat.
noun, Grammar.
the possessive case.
a form in the possessive.
Origin of possessive
From the Latin word possessīvus, dating back to 1520-30. See possess, -ive
Related forms
possessively, adverb
possessiveness, noun
nonpossessive, adjective
nonpossessively, adverb
nonpossessiveness, noun
unpossessive, adjective
unpossessively, adverb
unpossessiveness, noun
Can be confused
possessive, possessory. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for possessively
Historical Examples
  • He spoke to her possessively; he no longer depended, he directed.

    A Man's Hearth Eleanor M. Ingram
  • He smiled in response and put his hand upon her firm, round arm, possessively, and they began to talk.

    The Pool in the Desert Sara Jeanette Duncan
  • And as he held her fast, Toby forced back Sally's head and many times kissed her hotly and possessively.


    Frank Swinnerton
  • "She shan't—it's not for your young ears," said Clarence possessively from where he stood, a little behind Gail.

    The Wishing-Ring Man Margaret Widdemer
  • His lips pressed hers between the words closely, possessively, and again involuntarily she shivered.

    The Lamp in the Desert

    Ethel M. Dell
  • She took hold of one of her brother's hands, while she held Frederick possessively by the arm.

    The Secret of the Storm Country Grace Miller White
  • She did not touch him any oftener than she usually did, nor any whit more affectionately or possessively.

    Masters of Space Edward Elmer Smith
  • The man on the girl's right seemed to overlap her possessively which could have been accounted for by the width of his shoulders.

British Dictionary definitions for possessively


of or relating to possession or ownership
having or showing an excessive desire to possess, control, or dominate: a possessive mother
  1. another word for genitive (sense 1)
  2. denoting an inflected form of a noun or pronoun used to convey the idea of possession, association, etc, as my or Harry's
  1. the possessive case
  2. a word or speech element in the possessive case
Derived Forms
possessively, adverb
possessiveness, noun
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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Word Origin and History for possessively



mid-15c. (grammatical, also as a noun); 1550s in general use, from Middle French possessif (15c.) "relating to possession, possessive," and directly from Latin possessivus, from possess-, past participle stem of possidere "to possess" (see possess). Related: Possessively; possessiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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possessively in Culture

possessive definition

The case of a noun or pronoun that shows possession. Nouns are usually made possessive by adding an apostrophe and s: “The bicycle is Sue's, not Mark's.” Possessive pronouns can take the place of possessive nouns: “The bicycle is hers, not his.” (See nominative case and objective case.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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