To have as property; own. To have as a quality, characteristic, or other attribute: possessed great tact. To acquire mastery of or have knowledge of: possess valuable data. To gain or exert influence or control over; dominate: Fury possessed me. To control or maintain (one's nature) in a particular condition: I possessed my temper despite the insult. To cause to own, hold, or master something, such as property or knowledge: She possessed herself of the unclaimed goods. To cause to be influenced or controlled, as by an idea or emotion: The thought of getting rich possessed him. Obsolete To gain or seize.