Know how to use "fewer" and "less"? Find out.


[puh-zesh-uh n] /pəˈzɛʃ ən/
the act or fact of possessing.
the state of being possessed.
Law. actual holding or occupancy, either with or without rights of ownership.
a thing possessed:
He packed all his possessions into one trunk.
possessions, property or wealth.
a territorial dominion of a state.
  1. physical control of the ball or puck by a player or team:
    He didn't have full possession when he was tackled.
  2. the right of a team to put the ball into play:
    They had possession after the other team sank a free throw.
control over oneself, one's mind, etc.
domination, actuation, or obsession by a feeling, idea, etc.
the feeling or idea itself.
1300-50; Middle English < Latin possessiōn- (stem of possessiō) occupancy, act of occupying, equivalent to possess(us), past participle of possidēre to have in one's control, occupy (and, in active sense, past participle of posīdere to seize upon) (*pots-, akin to posse to be able + -sidēre, combining form of sedēre to sit1; cf. host1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonpossession, noun
1. tenure, occupation. 1, 3. See custody. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for possessions
  • The wise grad student doesn't collect expensive possessions or debts.
  • The skeletons of two people buried in ash indicate that even leaving possessions behind didn't give everyone time to escape.
  • And still today, when you go to their museums and you look at the art, you still think of it as their possessions.
  • Nor is it for people who are possessed by their possessions.
  • For any fashion savvy individual, these products are prized possessions.
  • They were not, however, permitted to take along valuable possessions.
  • However, if individuals were more careful with their expensive possessions then this may not even be necessary.
  • His cottage and personal possessions are preserved there.
  • Six years ago, you might have seen people standing in the streets and subways, offering random possessions for cash.
  • The size of the average house has increased tremendously along with the possessions of it's occupants.
British Dictionary definitions for possessions


the act of possessing or state of being possessed: in possession of the crown
anything that is owned or possessed
(pl) wealth or property
the state of being controlled or dominated by or as if by evil spirits
the physical control or occupancy of land, property, etc, whether or not accompanied by ownership: to take possession of a house
a territory subject to a foreign state or to a sovereign prince: colonial possessions
(sport) control of the ball, puck, etc, as exercised by a player or team: he lost possession in his own half
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for possessions



mid-14c., "act or fact of possessing, a taking possession, occupation," also "thing possessed, that which is possessed," from Old French possession "fact of having and holding; what is possessed;" also "demonic possession," and directly from Latin possessionem (nominative possessio), noun of action from past participle stem of possidere "to possess" (see possess). Legal property sense is earliest; demonic sense first recorded 1580s. Phrase possession is nine (or eleven) points of the law is out of a supposed 10 (or 12). With eleven from 1640s; with nine from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for possessions



The state of having illegal drugs (1970+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for possessions


in law, the acquisition of either a considerable degree of physical control over a physical thing, such as land or chattel, or the legal right to control intangible property, such as a credit-with the definite intention of ownership. With respect to land and chattel, possession may well have started as a physical fact, but possession today is often an abstraction. A servant or an employee, for instance, may have custody of an object, but he does not have possession; his employer does, even though he may be thousands of miles from the object he owns. Furthermore, except in the most abstract way, it is not possible to speak of the possession of intangible property.

Learn more about possession with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for possession

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for possessions

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with possessions

Nearby words for possessions