The Meaning of Possession: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of possession? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word possession, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word possession mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, the word possession means an ownership or domination of a thing or place, such as occupancy of land or the possession of the house. If someone has full possession of something, this means that they own the entirety of it. You may see things discussed as being inalienable possession versus alienable possession.

The term possession can also refer to an affliction of being overcome by a demon, often seen in horror films. People may feel an actual presence in an active sense, but sometimes people believe these are simply psychiatric disorders. Victims of demonic possession may do or say crazy things. It can also refer, in basketball or football, to the right of a team who has direct control of the ball, sometimes to make a free throw. In football you may see a little football symbol on the scoreboard next to the name of the team with possession or by their own goal line. The name of the team may vary. Possession is three syllables – pos-ses-sion, and the pronunciation of possession is pəˈzɛʃən.

Many different languages also contain words that mean possession. You may notice that many of these translations of possession look and sound similar to the word possession. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words in different languages have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of the word possession is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Romanian: posesie‎ (fem.), proprietate‎ (fem.)
  •  Greek: περιουσιακό στοιχείο‎ (neut.), απόκτημα‎ (neut.), κτήμα‎ (neut.), περιουσία‎ (fem.) (all one’s possessions)
  •  Japanese: 保有物‎ (hoyūbutsu), 所有物‎ (shoyūbutsu)
  •  Spanish: posesión‎ (fem.)
  •  Catalan: possessió‎ (fem.), propietat‎ (fem.)
  •  Esperanto: posedaĵo‎
  •  Russian: иму́щество‎ (neut.), со́бственность‎ (fem.)
  •  French: bien‎ (masc.)
  •  Khmer: កម្មសិទ្ធិ‎ (kammea’settʰi’)
  •  Dutch: bezitting‎ (fem.)
  •  Georgian: ქონა‎
  •  Irish: seilbh‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: birtok‎, tulajdon‎
  •  Navajo: inchxǫ́ʼí‎
  •  Polish: dobytek‎ (masc.), własność‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: possessão‎ (fem.), posse‎
  •  Swedish: ägodel‎ (common), egendom‎ (common)

What is the origin of the word possession in linguistics?

According to Etymonline, the word possession has been sued since mid-14c as the Middle English possessioun. This comes from the Old French possession and the LAtin possessionen, the nominative possessio, which is from the past particle stem of possidere. This comes from a  form of sedēre, formed by the suffix iōn and root sidēre Related words include possess, posse, passion.

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word possession?

There are many different words that a person could use in place of the word possession. These words are called synonyms, which have the same definition as the word possession. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your mind and vocabulary. This list of synonyms of the word possession is provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  land
  •  custody
  •  willpower
  •  hold
  •  acquisition
  •  effects
  •  belongings
  •  property
  •  estate
  •  chattels
  •  hands
  •  proprietorship
  •  clutches
  •  hand
  •  assets
  •  self-possession
  •  holding
  •  territory
  •  tenancy
  •  care
  •  self-control
  •  occupation
  •  fixtures
  •  occupancy
  •  furniture
  •  self-will
  •  guardianship
  •  self-command
  •  proprietary
  •  possess
  •  control
  •  keeping
  •  things
  •  appointments
  •  dependency
  •  freehold
  •  title
  •  have
  •  possessed
  •  province
  •  goods
  •  monomania
  •  having
  •  tenure
  •  colony
  •  belonging
  •  dominion
  •  ownership
  •  movables
  •  protectorate

There are also numerous different words and phrases that have the opposite meaning of possession. These opposite words are known as antonyms. Learning antonyms is another quick and easy way to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms of possession is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  block
  •  conveyance
  •  worry
  •  debt
  •  liability
  •  loss
  •  blow
  •  affliction
  •  albatross
  •  check
  •  bad fortune
  •  want
  •  assignment
  •  trouble
  •  curse
  •  damage
  •  cross
  •  blockage
  •  ball and chain
  •  deadweight
  •  bad luck
  •  impatience
  •  complication
  •  dumping
  •  distress
  •  championship
  •  duty
  •  baggage
  •  contretemps
  •  connection
  •  curb
  •  disadvantage
  •  emptiness
  •  clog
  •  waste
  •  barrier
  •  blemish
  •  forfeit
  •  arrears
  •  problem
  •  need
  •  brouhaha
  •  lack
  •  disfavor
  •  chain
  •  constraint
  •  booby prize
  •  burden
  •  bar
  •  anguish

How can the word possession be used in a sentence?

There are many different ways in which the word possession can be used in a sentence in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with their definitions and add them to your vocabulary. You can also try making flashcards or a quiz for yourself to test your knowledge of the definitions of different words. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several different examples of ways in which you can use the word possession in a sentence to help get your started.

Her precious possession of the car was taken away from her after her parents caught her sneaking out.

His own behavior and obsession with the possession of the crown in Britain shocked him – these colonial possessions should not have been that important.

She hoped someday to gain full possession of the land, for for now, she could only afford to own half and was a lessee of the other half. The landlord and seller for half of the land treated his tenants horribly, and this territory subject was close to coming to a head. She had reached her breaking point, and referenced property law for her rights of ownership to purchase the land as a buyer. She believed she had right of possession and could go after him for detention of property.

Réunion is one of France’s overseas possessions in the foreign state.

He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

She had many personal possessions to be proud of, including the trait of gregariousness.

Overall, the word possession means something that a person owns. This can also refer to demonic possession, a psychiatric disorder and frequent storyline in horror films. 


  1. Possession definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. possession: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Possession synonyms – 844 Words and Phrases for Possession | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Possession antonyms – 263 Opposites of Possession | Power Thesaurus 
  5. possession | Origin and meaning of possession | Online Etymology Dictionary