- spurred or moved by a strong feeling, madness, or a supernatural power (often followed by by, of, or with): The army fought as if possessed. The village believed her to be possessed of the devil.
- self-possessed; poised.
- possessed of, having; possessing: He is possessed of intelligence and ambition.
Origin of possessed
- 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.
Origin of possess
- a novel (1871) by Dostoevsky.
Examples from the Web for possessed
They possessed “wisdom beyond their years,” observed The Advocate.The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America’s Worst Gay Power Couple
December 9, 2014
For both the possessed and the priest-practitioner, driving out the devil can be dangerous to mind, body and spirit.Pope Francis Gives Blessing to Exorcist Conference
Barbie Latza Nadeau
October 29, 2014
Yet each saw in the other a winner who possessed native intelligence.Will the Real Jim Palmer Please Stand Up
September 27, 2014
We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public.It’s Time to Get More Women in the NFL Boardroom
September 12, 2014
He was so possessed by his own destiny he would never allow his armies even a tactical retreat, which turned out to be disastrous.Ron Rosenbaum on Hitler, Hollywood, and Quantifying Evil
July 26, 2014
If Robert possessed his acknowledgment he would have no defense to make.Brave and Bold
They possessed a system of writing of their own which they thought vastly superior.
In the beginning each little village had possessed a god of its own.
They possessed no watches but they measured time by the shadow of the sun-dial.
He distrusted his eyes, his ears, and every sense that he possessed.
- (foll by of) owning or having
- (usually postpositive) under the influence of a powerful force, such as a spirit or strong emotion
- a less common word for self-possessed
- 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
Word Origin and History for possessed
"controlled by an indwelling demon," 1530s, past participle adjective from possess (v.).
late 14c., "to hold, occupy, reside in" (without regard to ownership), a back formation from possession and in part from Old French possesser "to have and hold, take, be in possession of" (mid-13c.), from Latin possess-, past participle stem of possidere "to have and hold, possess, be master of, own," from posse "to be able," from potis "able, powerful" (see potent) + esse "to be" (see be). Meaning "to hold as property" is recorded from c.1500. Demonic sense is recorded from 1530s (implied in possessed). Related: Possessed; possessing.