possess Definition

  • 1have as belonging to one; own
  • 2have as a characteristic, attribute, or quality
  • 3dominate the thoughts, feelings, or desires of (someone); preoccupy

Using possess: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "possess" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    He possesses a large collection of rare books.

  • Example

    The painting possesses a certain charm that draws people in.

  • Example

    The idea of traveling the world possessed her mind for years.

possess Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for possess

Antonyms for possess

Phrases with possess

  • regain control of one's emotions or composure


    She took a deep breath and tried to possess herself before giving the presentation.

  • be strongly influenced or controlled by (a feeling or idea)


    He was possessed by a desire to succeed at all costs.

  • a pronoun that shows ownership or possession, such as 'mine', 'yours', 'his', 'hers', 'theirs'


    In the sentence 'This is my book', 'my' is a possessive pronoun.

Origins of possess

from Old French 'possesser', from Latin 'possidere', from 'potis' meaning 'able' + 'sedere' meaning 'to sit'


Summary: possess in Brief

To 'possess' [pəˈzes] something means to have it as belonging to oneself, either as an object or a characteristic. It can also mean to dominate someone's thoughts or feelings. Examples include 'He possesses a large collection of rare books' and 'The idea of traveling the world possessed her mind for years.' Phrases include 'possess oneself,' meaning to regain composure, and 'be possessed by,' meaning to be strongly influenced by a feeling or idea.

How do native speakers use this expression?