[ puh-zest ]
/ pəˈzɛst /


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.

Nearby words

  1. poss.,
  2. posse,
  3. posse comitatus,
  4. posser,
  5. possess,
  6. possessed by,
  7. possessed, the,
  8. possessedly,
  9. possession,
  10. possession is nine points of the law


    possessed of, having; possessing: He is possessed of intelligence and ambition.

Origin of possessed

First recorded in 1525–35; possess + -ed2

Related formspos·sess·ed·ly [puh-zes-id-lee, -zest-lee] /pəˈzɛs ɪd li, -ˈzɛst li/, adverbpos·sess·ed·ness, nounnon·pos·sessed, adjectiveun·pos·sessed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for possessed by


/ (pəˈzɛst) /


(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
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

Word Origin and History for possessed by



"controlled by an indwelling demon," 1530s, past participle adjective from possess (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with possessed by

possessed by

Driven by, obsessed with, as in He was possessed by the idea of becoming a millionaire. This idiom employs possess in the sense of “dominate one's thoughts or ideas,” a usage dating from the late 1500s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.