- 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
Examples from the Web for possesses
The sharply tailored blazer and weighty jewelry that cling to her body hints at the dominant personality she possesses.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
It possesses the power to both humanize and demonize minority groups.Why Muslims Hate Terrorism More
August 12, 2014
ISIS forces had come so close to Erbil that the city was in range of the Howitzer artillery cannons that ISIS possesses.McCain Calls Obama's 'Pinprick' Iraq Strikes 'Meaningless' and 'Almost Worse Than Nothing'
August 8, 2014
In short, jazz now possesses a prestige unprecedented in its long history.Jazz (The Music of Coffee and Donuts) Has Respect, But It Needs Love
June 15, 2014
Like all top-drawer authors, García Márquez possesses magnificent authority.García Márquez Showed Us How Great Fiction Could Be
April 18, 2014
All these are manifestly characteristics of Hamlet, and Posthumus possesses no others.The Man Shakespeare
It is only when one has lost all things, that one knows that one possesses it.De Profundis
He too possesses those weapons, but he cannot use them with so great effect.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
Moreover, can you call a nation poor, when it possesses Lombardy?The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
The United States of Colombia possesses less than 250 miles of road.The Railroad Question
- 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 possesses
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.