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.
- pos·ses·sor, noun
- pos·ses·sor·ship, noun
- un·der·pos·ses·sor, noun
- un·pos·sess·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use possess in a sentence
For the companies that didn’t participate, it raises the concern that they might possess information that indicates the toxic metals in their foods might be even higher than their competitors.New report finds toxic heavy metals in popular baby foods. FDA failed to warn consumers of risk. | Laura Reiley | February 4, 2021 | Washington Post
A just society must be consciously constructed by citizens possessing certain virtues.
Not only does it have a spike protein mutation that could lead to a higher infection rate, it possesses what’s called an “escape mutation.”The Amazonian city that hatched the Brazil variant has been crushed by it | Terrence McCoy, Heloísa Traiano | January 27, 2021 | Washington Post
They also possess their own first- and second-round draft choices.Predicting the future for Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers and other star NFL quarterbacks | John Clayton | January 26, 2021 | Washington Post
By implication, Earth must therefore possess some climate-stabilising feedbacks but at the same time good fortune must also have been involved in it staying habitable.It’s a cosmic miracle that life on Earth’s lasted this long | By Toby Tyrrell/The Conversation | January 25, 2021 | Popular-Science
As a white, educated, Western, middle-class male, I possess most of the unearned privilege the world has to offer.
That thing we seemed to possess was not the other, but an image of them we formed—they themselves are still free.
I know that many people do not feel they possess their partners and lovers.
In fact, the original Burroughs books possess a clear “green” streak that now seems quite prescient.Can Tarzan of the Apes Survive in a Post-Colonial World? | Ted Gioia | November 23, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The Fish and Wildlife officer told him that it was illegal to possess a protected species or a raptor.
Any one may possess the portrait of a tragedian without exciting suspicion or comment.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
Not a dollar did he possess—not even did he have a suit of clothes any more, and wore every day his corduroys.The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
My entrails were troubled in seeking her: therefore shall I possess a good possession.The Bible, Douay-Rheims Version | Various
"Doa Estefania, have no fear; you possess an infallible preservative," exclaimed the cappellan.
Tausig, in my opinion, did possess exceptional genius in composition, though he left but few works behind him to attest it.Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
British Dictionary definitions for possess
to have as one's property; own
to have as a quality, faculty, characteristic, etc: to possess good eyesight
to have knowledge or mastery of: to possess a little French
to gain control over or dominate: whatever possessed you to act so foolishly?
(foll by of) to cause to be the owner or possessor: I 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 condition: possess yourself in patience until I tell you the news
archaic to gain or seize
- possessor, 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