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See more synonyms for prepossessing on Thesaurus.com
  1. that impresses favorably; engaging or attractive: a confident and prepossessing young man.
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Origin of prepossessing

First recorded in 1635–45; prepossess + -ing2
Related formspre·pos·sess·ing·ly, adverbpre·pos·sess·ing·ness, nounun·pre·pos·sess·ing, adjectiveun·pre·pos·sess·ing·ly, adverb


verb (used with object)
  1. to possess or dominate mentally beforehand, as a prejudice does.
  2. to prejudice or bias, especially favorably.
  3. to impress favorably beforehand or at the outset.
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Origin of prepossess

First recorded in 1605–15; pre- + possess
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prepossessing

Historical Examples

  • They were, all in all, the least prepossessing group he had ever seen.

    Way of the Lawless

    Max Brand

  • "He is a person of most prepossessing manners," said Mrs. Merton.

  • Mr. Errett's personal appearance is striking and prepossessing.

  • I assumed a form most prepossessing and most amiable in her eyes.


    William Godwin

  • He was wise, brave, ambitious and most prepossessing in appearance.

British Dictionary definitions for prepossessing


  1. creating a favourable impression; attractive
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Derived Formsprepossessingly, adverbprepossessingness, noun


verb (tr)
  1. to preoccupy or engross mentally
  2. to influence in advance for or against a person or thing; prejudice; bias
  3. to make a favourable impression on beforehand
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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 prepossessing


1640s, "causing prejudice," present participle adjective from prepossess. Opposite meaning "causing agreeable first impression" first recorded 1805.

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1610s, "to get possession of beforehand," from pre- + possess. Meaning "to possess (a person) beforehand with a feeling, notion, etc." is from 1630s; specifically, "to cause (someone) to have a favorable opinion of something" (1640s). Related: Prepossessed; prepossessing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper