possess
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /pəˈzɛs/

Verb

possess (possesses, present participle possessing; past and past participle possessed)

  1. (transitive) To have; to have ownership of.
    He does not even possess a working telephone.
    • 1818, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Volume 3, Chapter 7:
      [...], the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds, which hardly any later friend can obtain.
  2. (transitive) To take control of someone's body or mind, especially in a supernatural manner.
    They thought he was possessed by evil spirits.
    What on earth possessed you to go walking by the quarry at midnight?
  3. (transitive, dated, chiefly, with of) To vest ownership in (someone, or oneself); to give someone power or knowledge; to acquaint; to inform.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5 Scene 1
      LEONATO. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;
      That were impossible; but, I pray you both,
      Possess the people in Messina here
      How innocent she died;
    • cite
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