- 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 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[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.
- 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? Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French possesser, from Latin possess-
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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//