American English

Definition of possess verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (not used in the progressive tenses)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they possess
    he / she / it possesses
    past simple possessed
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  1. 1possess something (formal) to have or own something He was charged with possessing a shotgun without a license. I'm afraid this is the only suitcase I possess. The gallery possesses a number of the artist's early works. Belgium was the first European country to possess a full-fledged rail network.
  2. 2possess something (formal) to have a particular quality or feature I'm afraid he doesn't possess a sense of humor. He credited her with a maturity she did not possess.
  3. 3[usually passive] possess somebody (literary) (of a feeling, an emotion, etc.) to have a powerful effect on someone and control the way that they think, behave, etc. A terrible fear possessed her.
  4. 4possess somebody to do something (used in negative sentences and questions) to make someone do something that seems strange or unreasonable What possessed him to say such a thing?
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: possess