Hypertext Webster Gateway: "Possess"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Possess \Pos*sess"\ (?; 277), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Possessed};
p. pr. & vb. n. {Possessing}.] [L. possessus, p. p. of
possidere to have, possess, from an inseparable prep. (cf.
{Position}) + sedere to sit. See {Sit}.]
1. To occupy in person; to hold or actually have in one's own
keeping; to have and to hold.

Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed
again in this land. --Jer. xxxii.

Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
After offense returning, to regain Love once
possessed. --Milton.

2. To have the legal title to; to have a just right to; to be
master of; to own; to have; as, to possess property, an
estate, a book.

I am yours, and all that I possess. --Shak.

3. To obtain occupation or possession of; to accomplish; to
gain; to seize.

How . . . to possess the purpose they desired.

4. To enter into and influence; to control the will of; to
fill; to affect; -- said especially of evil spirits,
passions, etc. ``Weakness possesseth me.'' --Shak.

Those which were possessed with devils. --Matt. iv.

For ten inspired, ten thousand are possessed.

5. To put in possession; to make the owner or holder of
property, power, knowledge, etc.; to acquaint; to inform;
-- followed by of or with before the thing possessed, and
now commonly used reflexively.

I have possessed your grace of what I purpose.

Record a gift . . . of all he dies possessed Unto
his son. --Shak.

We possessed our selves of the kingdom of Naples.

To possess our minds with an habitual good
intention. --Addison.

Syn: To have; hold; occupy; control; own.

Usage: {Possess}, {Have}. Have is the more general word. To
possess denotes to have as a property. It usually
implies more permanence or definiteness of control or
ownership than is involved in having. A man does not
possess his wife and children: they are (so to speak)
part of himself. For the same reason, we have the
faculties of reason, understanding, will, sound
judgment, etc.: they are exercises of the mind, not

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

v 1: have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill; "he possesses
great knowledge about the Middle East"
2: have ownership or possession of; "He owns three houses in
Florida"; "How many cars does she have?" [syn: {own}, {have}]
3: enter into and control, as of emotions or ideas; "What
possessed you to buy this house?" "A terrible rage
possessed her"

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