[ puh-zes-iv ]
/ pəˈzɛs ɪv /


jealously opposed to the personal independence of, or to any influence other than one's own upon, a child, spouse, etc.
desirous of possessing, especially excessively so: Young children are so possessive they will not allow others to play with their toys; a possessive lover.
of or relating to possession or ownership.
  1. indicating possession, ownership, origin, etc. His in his book is a possessive adjective. His in The book is his is a possessive pronoun.
  2. noting or pertaining to a case that indicates possession, ownership, origin, etc., as, in English, John's in John's hat.

noun Grammar.

the possessive case.
a form in the possessive.

Origin of possessive

From the Latin word possessīvus, dating back to 1520–30. See possess, -ive

Related forms

Can be confused

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

Examples from the Web for possessive

British Dictionary definitions for possessive


/ (pəˈzɛsɪv) /


of or relating to possession or ownership
having or showing an excessive desire to possess, control, or dominatea possessive mother
  1. another word for genitive (def. 1)
  2. denoting an inflected form of a noun or pronoun used to convey the idea of possession, association, etc, as my or Harry's


  1. the possessive case
  2. a word or speech element in the possessive case

Derived Forms

possessively, adverbpossessiveness, 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

Culture definitions for possessive


The case of a noun or pronoun that shows possession. Nouns are usually made possessive by adding an apostrophe and s: “The bicycle is Sue's, not Mark's.” Possessive pronouns can take the place of possessive nouns: “The bicycle is hers, not his.” (See nominative case and objective case.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.