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possess

[puh-zes]
See more synonyms for possess on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to have as belonging to one; have as property; own: to possess a house and a car.
  2. to have as a faculty, quality, or the like: to possess courage.
  3. (of a spirit, especially an evil one) to occupy, dominate, or control (a person) from within: He thought he was possessed by devils.
  4. (of a feeling, idea, etc.) to dominate or actuate in the manner of such a spirit: He was possessed by envy.
  5. (of a man) to succeed in having sexual intercourse with.
  6. to have knowledge of: to possess a language.
  7. to keep or maintain (oneself, one's mind, etc.) in a certain state, as of peace, patience, etc.
  8. to maintain control over (oneself, one's mind, etc.).
  9. to impart to; inform; familiarize (often followed by of or with): to possess someone of the facts of the case.
  10. to cause to be dominated or influenced, as by an idea, feeling, etc.
  11. to make (someone) owner, holder, or master, as of property, information, etc.: He possessed them of the facts.
  12. to seize or take.
  13. to gain or win.
  14. to occupy or hold.
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Origin of possess

1425–75; late Middle English possesen < Middle French possess(i)er, noun derivative of possession possession
Related formspos·ses·sor, nounpos·ses·sor·ship, nounun·der·pos·ses·sor, nounun·pos·sess·ing, adjective

Synonym study

1. See have.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for possessing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Rosenfeld eyed him suspiciously, but, possessing a sense of humor also, he grinned.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The only advantage with which he accredited the city was that of possessing newspapers.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Thanks to numbers they had ended by invading every sphere and possessing everything.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola

  • And this, as possessing measure, must undeniably also be an art and science?

  • There is, however, an interest in possessing one writing of Plato which is in the process of creation.

    Laws

    Plato


British Dictionary definitions for possessing

possess

verb (tr)
  1. to have as one's property; own
  2. to have as a quality, faculty, characteristic, etcto possess good eyesight
  3. to have knowledge or mastery ofto possess a little French
  4. to gain control over or dominatewhatever possessed you to act so foolishly?
  5. (foll by of) to cause to be the owner or possessorI am possessed of the necessary information
  6. (often foll by with) to cause to be influenced or dominated (by)the news possessed him with anger
  7. to have sexual intercourse with
  8. 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
  9. archaic to gain or seize
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Derived Formspossessor, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Old French possesser, from Latin possidēre to own, occupy; related to Latin sedēre to sit
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 possessing

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper