possess

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English possessen, from Old French possesser (to possess), from Latin possessus, past participle of possideō.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /pəˈzɛs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛs

VerbEdit

possess (third-person singular simple present possesses, present participle possessing, simple past and past participle possessed)

  1. (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.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest, OL 1521052W:
      He read the letter aloud. Sophia listened with the studied air of one for whom, even in these days, a title possessed some surreptitious allurement.
  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 followed by of: to vest ownership in (someone or oneself); to give (someone) knowledge or power; to acquaint, to inform (someone).
ConjugationEdit

SynonymsEdit

  • ((with of), to vest ownership): seise
  • (qualities or characteristics): inhold

TranslationsEdit

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.