- (transitive) To have; to have ownership of.
- He does not even possess a working telephone.
- 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VII, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. […], volume III, London: […] [Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744, page 162:
- Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds, which hardly any later friend can obtain.
- (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?
- c. 1594, William Shakespeare, “The Comedie of Errors”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii], page 89, column 1:
- I am poſſeſt with an adulterate blot, / My bloud is mingled with the crime of luſt: [...]
- (transitive, dated) Chiefly followed by of: to vest ownership in (someone or oneself); to give (someone) knowledge or power; to acquaint, to inform (someone).
- 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, Much Adoe about Nothing. […], quarto edition, London: […] V[alentine] S[immes] for Andrew Wise, and William Aspley, published 1600, OCLC 932921146, [Act V, scene i]:
- I cannot bid you bid my daughter liue, / That were impoſſible, but I pray you both, / Poſſeſs the people in Meſſina here, / How innocent ſhe died, [...]
- c. 1601–1602, William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or VVhat You VVill”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene iii], page 261, column 2:
Conjugation of possess
|present tense||past tense|
|2nd-person singular||possess, possessest1||possessed, possessedst1|
|3rd-person singular||possesses, possesseth1||possessed|
to have; to have ownership of
to take control of someone's body or mind
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.