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.
- pos·ses·sor, noun
- pos·ses·sor·ship, noun
- un·der·pos·ses·sor, noun
- un·pos·sess·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use possess in a sentence
The bill would remove marijuana from the federal drug scheduling system, the basis for much of federal drug policy, and eliminates criminal penalties for anyone who possesses, distributes, or produces marijuana.US House of Representatives votes to legalize marijuana | German Lopez | December 4, 2020 | Vox
Ex-Services also possess an innate ability to learn new skills and are natural problem solvers, who can work quickly and fit into a team with ease.Two key UK military nonprofits join forces to boost veteran training in cyber and tech | Mike Butcher | December 3, 2020 | TechCrunch
He said the law would disenfranchise minority voters, who are less likely to possess the required identification.Court upholds North Carolina’s voter identification law | Ann Marimow | December 2, 2020 | Washington Post
Then it must possess the personnel needed to actually take advantage.It’s Hard To Measure NFL Matchups, So We Built A Better Metric | Josh Hermsmeyer | November 25, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
In Washington, Saturday possessed both political and meteorological significance.
The governor of reliably Blue New Jersey and possessor of an outsize personality, he commands attention.
He is the happy possessor of five minute lamps and candlesticks, no two of which are the same height.Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
Ejectment is the action employed to eject or turn out a wrongful possessor and recover possession of land.Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman | Albert Sidney Bolles
Beauty itself confers a certain air of dignity upon its humblest possessor.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
For Cheri hardly did such things now, since he had become the proud possessor of a gun, and had had his black curls cut off.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
His was that rare type of character whose possessor remains master of his vices.Dope | Sax Rohmer
British Dictionary definitions for possess
to have as one's property; own
to have as a quality, faculty, characteristic, etc: to possess good eyesight
to have knowledge or mastery of: to possess a little French
to gain control over or dominate: whatever possessed you to act so foolishly?
(foll by of) to cause to be the owner or possessor: I 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 condition: possess yourself in patience until I tell you the news
archaic to gain or seize
- possessor, 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