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. 15) "Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power, After offense returning, to regain Love once possessed." (Milton)
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." "Those which were possessed with devils." (Matt. Iv. 24) "For ten inspired, ten thousand are possessed." (Roscommon)
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." (Shak) "Record a gift . . . Of all he dies possessed Unto his son." (Shak) "We possessed our selves of the kingdom of Naples." (Addison) "To possess our minds with an habitual good intention." (Addison)
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 possessions.
Origin: L. Possessus, p. P. Of possidere to have, possess, from an inseparable prep. (cf. Position) + sedere to sit. See Sit.
(01 Mar 1998)
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