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pos·sess / pəˈzes/ • v. [tr.] 1. have as belonging to one; own: I do not possess a television set. ∎  Law have possession of as distinct from ownership: a two-year suspended sentence for possessing cocaine. ∎  have as an ability, quality, or characteristic: he did not possess a sense of humor | (be possessed of) a fading blonde possessed of a powerful soprano voice. ∎  (possess oneself of) archaic take for one's own: all that the plaintiffs did was to possess themselves of the securities.2. (usu. be possessed) (of a demon or spirit, esp. an evil one) have complete power over (someone) and be manifested through their speech or actions: she was possessed by the Devil. ∎  (of an emotion, idea, etc.) dominate the mind of; have an overpowering influence on: I was possessed by a desire to tell her everything.3. chiefly poetic/lit. have sexual intercourse with (a woman).4. archaic maintain (oneself or one's mind or soul) in a state or condition of patience or quiet: I tried to possess my soul in patience and to forget how hungry I was.PHRASES: what possessed you? used to express surprise at an action regarded as extremely unwise: what possessed you to come here?

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