1. jealously opposed to the personal independence of, or to any influence other than one's own upon, a child, spouse, etc.
  2. desirous of possessing, especially excessively so: Young children are so possessive they will not allow others to play with their toys; a possessive lover.
  3. of or relating to possession or ownership.
  4. Grammar.
    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.
  1. the possessive case.
  2. a form in the possessive.

Origin of possessive

From the Latin word possessīvus, dating back to 1520–30. See possess, -ive
Related formspos·ses·sive·ly, adverbpos·ses·sive·ness, nounnon·pos·ses·sive, adjectivenon·pos·ses·sive·ly, adverbnon·pos·ses·sive·ness, nounun·pos·ses·sive, adjectiveun·pos·ses·sive·ly, adverbun·pos·ses·sive·ness, noun
Can be confusedpossessive possessory
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for possessively

Historical Examples of possessively

  • He spoke to her possessively; he no longer depended, he directed.

    A Man's Hearth

    Eleanor M. Ingram

  • He smiled in response and put his hand upon her firm, round arm, possessively, and they began to talk.

    The Pool in the Desert

    Sara Jeanette Duncan

  • And as he held her fast, Toby forced back Sally's head and many times kissed her hotly and possessively.


    Frank Swinnerton

  • "She shan't—it's not for your young ears," said Clarence possessively from where he stood, a little behind Gail.

    The Wishing-Ring Man

    Margaret Widdemer

  • His lips pressed hers between the words closely, possessively, and again involuntarily she shivered.

British Dictionary definitions for possessively


  1. of or relating to possession or ownership
  2. having or showing an excessive desire to possess, control, or dominatea possessive mother
  3. grammar
    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. grammar
    1. the possessive case
    2. a word or speech element in the possessive case
Derived Formspossessively, 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

Word Origin and History for possessively



mid-15c. (grammatical, also as a noun); 1550s in general use, from Middle French possessif (15c.) "relating to possession, possessive," and directly from Latin possessivus, from possess-, past participle stem of possidere "to possess" (see possess). Related: Possessively; possessiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

possessively in Culture


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.