Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

possessive

[puh-zes-iv]
See more synonyms for possessive on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  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.
Show More
noun Grammar.
  1. the possessive case.
  2. a form in the possessive.
Show More

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. 2018

Related Words for possessiveness

friendship, affinity, loyalty, devotion, case, shine, love, hankering, yen, weakness, regard, partiality, crush, tenderness, attraction, liking, fidelity, fondness, bond, possessiveness

Examples from the Web for possessiveness

Contemporary Examples of possessiveness

Historical Examples of possessiveness

  • Of course, she was not for him—not with that possessiveness.

    The Search

    Grace Livingston Hill

  • He was overwhelmed by the possessiveness of the awful thing.

    At the Crossroads

    Harriet T. Comstock

  • Exaggerations of possessiveness in the individual are parallel and of a piece with the clutching greed of nations and emperors.

  • For effrontery of possessiveness is there anything that can exceed the nest-making, planet-populating, female, human woman?

  • Anger, defiance, pride and possessiveness supply the motives of their songs.

    Birds of the wave and woodland

    Phil (Philip Stewart) Robinson


British Dictionary definitions for possessiveness

possessive

adjective
  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
Show More
noun
  1. grammar
    1. the possessive case
    2. a word or speech element in the possessive case
Show More
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 possessiveness

possessive

adj.

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

possessiveness in Culture

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.)

Show More
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.