Possess Pos*sess" (?; 277), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Possessed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Possessing}.] [L. possessus, p. p. of possidere to have, possess, from an inseparable prep. (cf. {Position}) + sedere to sit. See {Sit}.] 1. To occupy in person; to hold or actually have in one's own keeping; to have and to hold. [1913 Webster]

Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. --Jer. xxxii. 15. [1913 Webster]

Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power, After offense returning, to regain Love once possessed. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. To have the legal title to; to have a just right to; to be master of; to own; to have; as, to possess property, an estate, a book. [1913 Webster]

I am yours, and all that I possess. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. To obtain occupation or possession of; to accomplish; to gain; to seize. [1913 Webster]

How . . . to possess the purpose they desired. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

4. To enter into and influence; to control the will of; to fill; to affect; -- said especially of evil spirits, passions, etc. ``Weakness possesseth me.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Those which were possessed with devils. --Matt. iv. 24. [1913 Webster]

For ten inspired, ten thousand are possessed. --Roscommon. [1913 Webster]

5. To put in possession; to make the owner or holder of property, power, knowledge, etc.; to acquaint; to inform; -- followed by of or with before the thing possessed, and now commonly used reflexively. [1913 Webster]

I have possessed your grace of what I purpose. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Record a gift . . . of all he dies possessed Unto his son. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

We possessed our selves of the kingdom of Naples. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

To possess our minds with an habitual good intention. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

Syn: To have; hold; occupy; control; own.

Usage: {Possess}, {Have}. Have is the more general word. To possess denotes to have as a property. It usually implies more permanence or definiteness of control or ownership than is involved in having. A man does not possess his wife and children: they are (so to speak) part of himself. For the same reason, we have the faculties of reason, understanding, will, sound judgment, etc.: they are exercises of the mind, not possessions. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • possess — possessor, n. possessorship, n. /peuh zes /, v.t. 1. to have as belonging to one; have as property; own: to possess a house and a car. 2. to have as a faculty, quality, or the like: to possess courage. 3. (of a spirit, esp. an evil one) to occupy …   Universalium

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