Dictionary: POSS – POST

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POSS, v.t.

To dash in water. [Local.]

POSSE-COMITATUS, n. [Posse comitatus.]

  1. In law, the power of the county, or the citizens, who are summoned to assist an officer in suppressing a riot, or executing any legal precept which is forcibly opposed. The word comitatus is often omitted, and posse alone is used in the same sense. – Blackstone.
  2. In low language, a number or crowd of people; a rabble.

POS-SESS', v.t. [L. possessus, possideo, a compound of po, a Russian preposition, perhaps by, and sedeo, to sit; to sit in or on. We have this word from the Latin, but the same compound is in our mother tongue, Sax. besittan, to possess; be, by, and sittan, to sit; gesittan, besettan, gesettan, are also used; D. bezitten; G. besitzen; Dan. besidder; Sw. besitta; Fr. posseder; Arm. poçzedi; Sp. poseer; It. possedere.]

  1. To have the just and legal title, ownership or property of a thing; to own; to hold the title of, as the rightful proprietor, or to hold both the title and the thing. A man may possess the farm which he cultivates, or he may possess an estate in a foreign country, not in his own occupation. He may possess many farms which are occupied by tenants. In this as in other cases, the original sense of the word is enlarged, the holding or tenure being applied to the title or right, as well as to the thing itself.
  2. To hold; to occupy without title or ownership. I raise up the Chaldeans to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs. – Hab. i. Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own. – Acts iv.
  3. To have; to occupy. The love of the world usually possesses the heart.
  4. To seize; to gain; to obtain the occupation of. The English marched toward the river Eske, intending to possess a hill called Uder-Eske. – Hayward.
  5. To have power over; as an invisible agent or spirit. – Luke viii. Beware what spirit rages in your breast; / For ten inspired, ten thousand are possess'd. – Roscommon.
  6. To affect by some power. Let not your ears despise my tongue, / Which shall possess them with the heaviest sound / That ever yet they heard. – Swift. To possess of, or with, more properly to possess of, is to give possession, command or occupancy. Of fortune's favor long possess'd. – Dryden. This possesses us of the most valuable blessing of human life, friendship. – Gov. of the Tongue. To possess one's self of, to take or gain possession or command; to make one's self master of. We possessed ourselves of the kingdom of Naples. – Addison. To possess with, to furnish or fill with something permanent; or to be retained. It is of unspeakable advantage to possess our minds with an habitual good intention. – Addison. If they are possessed with honest minds. – Addison.


Held by lawful title; occupied; enjoyed; affected by demons or invisible agents.


Having or holding by absolute right or title; occupying; enjoying.


  1. The having, holding or detention of property in one's power or command; actual seizing or occupancy, either rightful or wrongful. One man may have the possession of a thing, and another may have the right of possession or property. If the possession is severed from the property; if A. has the right to property, and B. by unlawful means has gained possession, this is an injury to A. This is a bare or naked possession. Blackstone. In bailment, the bailee who receives goods to convey, or to keep for a time, has the possession of the goods, and a temporary right over them, but not the property. Property in possession, includes both the right and the occupation. Long undisturbed possession Is presumptive proof of right or property in the possessor.
  2. The thing possessed; land, estate or goods owned; as, foreign possessions. The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. – Obad. 17. When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. – Matth. xix.
  3. Any thing valuable possessed or enjoyed. Christian peace of mind is the best possession of life.
  4. The state of being under the power of demons or invisible beings; madness; lunacy; as, demoniacal possession. Writ of possession, a precept directing a sherif to put a person in peaceable possession of property recovered in ejectment. – Blackstone. To take possession, to enter on, or to bring within one's power or occupancy. To give possession, to put in another's power or occupancy.


To invest with property. [Not used.] – Carew.


One that has possession of a thing, or power over it. [Little used.] – Sidney.

POS-SES'SIVE, a. [L. possessivus.]

Pertaining to possession; having possession. Possessive case, in English grammar, is the genitive case, or case of nouns and pronouns, which expresses, 1st, possession, ownership, as John's book; or 2ndly, some relation of one thing to another, as Homer's admirers.


In a manner denoting possession.


  1. An occupant; one that has possession; a person who holds in his hands or power any species of property, real or personal. The owner or proprietor of property is the permanent possessor by legal right; the lessee of land and the bailee of goods are temporary possessors by right; the disseizor of land and the thief are wrongful possessors.
  2. One that has, holds or enjoys any good or other thing. Think of the happiness of the prophets and apostles, saints and martyrs, possessors of eternal glory. – Law.


Having possession; as, a possessory lord. – Howell. Possessory action, in law, an action or suit in which the right of possession only, and not that of property, is contested. Blackstone.

POS'SET, n. [W. posel, from the root of pose, W. posiaw, to gather. The L. posca, may have the same origin.]

Milk curdled with wine or other liquor. – Dryden. Arbuthnot.

POS'SET, v.t.

To curdle; to turn. – Shak.


Curdled; turned.


Curdling, as milk.

POS-SI-BIL'I-TY, n. [from possible; Fr. possibilité.]

The power of being or existing; the power of happening; the state of being possible. It often implies improbability or great uncertainty. There is a possibility that a new star may appear this night. There is a possibility of a hard frost in July in our latitude. It is not expedient to hazard much on the bare possibility of success. It is prudent to reduce contracts to writing, and to render them so explicit as to preclude the possibility of mistake or controversy.

POS'SI-BLE, a. [Fr.; It. possibile; Sp. posible; from L. possibilis, from posse. See Power.]

That may be or exist; that may be now, or may happen or come to pass; that may be done; not contrary to the nature of things. It is possible that the Greeks and Turks may now be engaged in battle. It is possible the peace of Europe may continue a century. It is not physically possible that a stream should ascend a mountain, but it is possible that the Supreme Being may suspend a law of nature, that is, his usual course of proceeding. It is not possible that 2 and 3 should be 7, or that the same action should be morally right and morally wrong. This word when pronounced with a certain emphasis, implies improbability. A thing is possible, but very improbable.

POS'SI-BLY, adv.

  1. By any power, moral or physical, really existing. Learn all that can possibly be known. Can we possibly his love desert? – Milton.
  2. Perhaps; without absurdity. Arbitrary power tends to make a man a bad sovereign, who might possibly have been a good one, had he been invested with authority circumscribed by laws. – Addison.


To play possum, to act possum, a play in which a person if caught, feigns himself dead.

POST, a. [from Fr. aposter.]

Suborned; hired to do what is wrong. [Not in use.] – Sandys.

POST, n. [W. pôst; D. Dan. and Sw. post; G. pfoste, posten, and post; Fr. poste; Sp. poste, posta; It. posta, posto; L. postis, from positus, the given participle of pono, to place, but coinciding with Sp. posar, It. posare, to put or set.]

  1. A piece of timber set upright, usually larger than a stake, and intended to support something else; as, the posts of a house; the posts of a door; the posts of a gate; the posts of a fence.
  2. A military station; the place where a single soldier or a body of troops is stationed. The sentinel must not desert his post. The troops are ordered to defend the post. Hence,
  3. The troops stationed at a particular place, or the ground they occupy. – Marshall. Encyc.
  4. A public office or employment, that is, a fixed place or station. When vice prevails and impious men bear sway, / The post of honor is a private station. – Addison.
  5. A messenger or a carrier of letters and papers; one that goes at stated times to convey the mail or dispatches. This sense also denotes fixedness, either from the practice of using relays of horses stationed at particular places, or of stationing men for carrying dispatches, or from the fixed stages where they were to be supplied with refreshments. [See Stage.] Xenophon informs us that Cyrus, king of Persia, established such stations or houses.
  6. A seat or situation. – Burnet.
  7. A sort of writing paper, such as is used for letters; letter paper.
  8. An old game at cards.
  9. In architecture and sculpture, certain ornaments shaped after the manner of rolls or wreathings. – Elmes. To ride post, to be employed to carry dispatches and papers, and as such carriers rode in haste, hence the phrase signifies to ride in haste, to pass with expedition. Post is used also adverbially, for swiftly, expeditiously, or expressly. Sent from Media post to Egypt. – Milton. Hence, to travel post, is to travel expeditiously by the use of fresh horses taken at certain stations. Knight of the post, a fellow suborned or hired to do a bad action.

POST, prep.

A Latin preposition, signifying after. It is used in this sense in composition in many English words.

POST, v.i. [Fr. poster; Sp. postear.]

To travel with speed. And post o'er land and ocean without rest. – Milton.

POST, v.t.

  1. To fix to a post; as, to post a notification.
  2. To expose to public reproach by fixing the name to a post; to expose to opprobrium by some public action; as, to post a coward.
  3. To advertise on a post or in a public place; as, to post a stray horse. – Laws of New England.
  4. To set; to place; to station; as, to post troops on a hill, or in front or on the flank of an army.
  5. In book-keeping, to carry accounts from the waste-book or journal to the ledger. To post off, to put off; to delay. [Not used.] – Shak.