Share this entry

Share this page

possessive

Line breaks: pos¦ses|sive
Pronunciation: /pəˈzɛsɪv
 
/

Definition of possessive in English:

adjective

1Demanding someone’s total attention and love: has he become jealous or possessive? he placed a firm, possessive hand on her elbow
More example sentences
  • I think that men's love is very possessive and involves ownership, competition, and performance.
  • She had lot of people who claimed her attention but later on a particular man became more possessive of her and she stopped entertaining others.
  • That kiss was like nothing I had felt before and not in a nice way, it was possessive, aggressive and demanding… it scared me.
Synonyms
1.1Showing an unwillingness to share one’s possessions: young children are proud and possessive of their own property
More example sentences
  • If we were not greedy, possessive creatures why would we need a means to measure our worth?
  • Retrograde Scorpio Venus tends to showcase the acquisitive, possessive, less lovely traits of the Tauran shadow.
  • A woman can be very possessive about personal accessories.
Synonyms
North American informal grabby
2 Grammar Relating to or denoting the case of nouns and pronouns expressing possession.
Example sentences
  • It's a relational noun, which means that a possessive shows who the noun relates to.
  • Relations that are implicit in the semantic structure of a possessed noun can affect the range of plausible interpretations of a possessive construction.
  • The possessive apostrophe disappeared in place names such as ‘Coopers Creek’ decades ago.

noun

Grammar Back to top  
1A possessive word or form.
Example sentences
  • Prenominal possessives (John's car, my hat) normally function as definite expressions.
  • All three examples are from the very first sentences of their essays; possessives are being used to introduce discourse referents.
  • The rule is a perfectly absurd concoction, which grows out of a basic confusion about parts of speech (possessives are not adjectives, so you can't say ‘It looks John's,’ for example).
1.1 (the possessive) The possessive case.
Example sentences
  • We all know that in English you form the possessive by adding an apostrophe.
  • Actually, today, the possessive and genitive are virtually the same.
  • Some linguists believe that English possessive is no longer a case at all, but has become a clitic, an independent particle that is always pronounced as part of the preceding word.

Derivatives

possessively

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • Women have potentially a bigger capacity to move through people and love freely and not possessively.
  • He'd reached up from the back seat and was rubbing my neck, sort of possessively, yet lovingly.
  • I possessively kept them out of my little brother's reach who wanted them only because he saw how much I loved them.

possessiveness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • Complications kick in, and previously contained feelings of jealousy, betrayal, insecurity and possessiveness threaten to overwhelm what had seemed a rather civilised arrangement.
  • The second is neurotic: everyone is liable to instinctive twinges of possessiveness, so lovers shouldn't rub each other's noses in adventures outside their patch.
  • I could put up with his outbursts, the jealousy and possessiveness but not the violence.

Definition of possessive in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure