Definition of possess verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    possess

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//pəˈzes//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzes//
     
    (not used in the progressive tenses)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they possess
    BrE BrE//pəˈzes//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzes//
     
    he / she / it possesses
    BrE BrE//pəˈzesɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzesɪz//
     
    past simple possessed
    BrE BrE//pəˈzest//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzest//
     
    past participle possessed
    BrE BrE//pəˈzest//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzest//
     
    past simple possessing
    BrE BrE//pəˈzesɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzesɪŋ//
     
    past participle possessing
    BrE BrE//pəˈzesɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//pəˈzesɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  possess something (formal) to have or own something He was charged with possessing a shotgun without a licence. 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 fully fledged rail network.
  2. 2  possess something (formal) to have a particular quality or feature I'm afraid he doesn't possess a sense of humour. 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 somebody 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 somebody do something that seems strange or unreasonable What possessed him to say such a thing?
  5. Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French possesser, from Latin possess- ‘occupied, held’, from the verb possidere, from potis ‘able, capable’ + sedere ‘sit’.Extra examples I’m afraid he doesn’t possess a sense of humour. I’m afraid this is the only suitcase I possess. The gallery possesses a number of the artist’s early works.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: possess