Definition of dispossess in English:



[with object]
  • 1Deprive (someone) of land, property, or other possessions.

    ‘they were dispossessed of lands and properties during the Reformation’
    as plural noun the dispossessed ‘a champion of the poor and the dispossessed’
    • ‘Certainly neither I, nor as far as I know any of my ancestors, ever dispossessed anyone of their land, language or self-esteem or prevented anyone being educated.’
    • ‘This should entail allocating large tracts of unused state land to landless and dispossessed people.’
    • ‘Indeed this social breakdown afflicts with equal vehemence those Aboriginal peoples who have never been dispossessed of their lands and who retain their classical traditions, cultures and languages.’
    • ‘The community claims to have been dispossessed of the land, about 80 km north of Pretoria, around 1917 under racially discriminatory laws.’
    • ‘Future decades saw the clan being systematically dispossessed of their land under apartheid laws until they became completely landless in the 1970's.’
    • ‘The workers were mainly peasants who have been dispossessed of their land and forced to go to major cities to find work.’
    • ‘Some say that it would be cruel to dispossess these people of the only means of making money that they have.’
    • ‘Arnold has no time for the western powers which trumpet about democracy because white farmers are dispossessed of the land that their forefathers stole from Africans.’
    • ‘As the new 20th century approached, Mary Jones was an aging, poor, widowed Irish immigrant, nearly as dispossessed as an American could be.’
    • ‘It is predicated on sustaining a racist state-organization into the future, forever surrounded by those it has dispossessed and humiliated.’
    • ‘Those dispossessed in these savage deportations have long since resettled, and no serious movement demands their return home.’
    • ‘They are shunned, broken, dispossessed, and live a bleak, furtive life of agonizing loneliness.’
    • ‘He tends to celebrate characters that have been outcast by society, dispossessed, or had a run of hard luck.’
    • ‘As specified by deprivation theory, people who feel powerless and dispossessed are especially likely to look to religion for compensation.’
    • ‘The disconnected and dispossessed, like Mason, are left to take care of their body and not expect any ‘consumption’ beyond simple nourishment and promises.’
    • ‘This time he is actively hated by the leaders of the dispossessed to whom he professes his allegiance.’
    • ‘One yearns for a strong third party which can become the voice of the economically and politically dispossessed.’
    • ‘It's for a local charity dealing with soup-kitchens, the homeless, and disowned and dispossessed around the area.’
    • ‘Progressives should ask why the vote no longer provides the dispossessed with the same power.’
    divest, strip, rob, cheat out of, do out of, deprive, relieve, bereave
    dislodge, oust, eject, expel, drive out, evict, turn out, cast out, throw out, throw someone out on their ear, put out in the street, show someone the door
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(in sport) deprive (a player) of the ball.
      ‘he dispossessed Hendrie and set off on a solo run’
      • ‘They soon increased their lead when Matthew Cox dispossessed his opposite winger on the half way line and outpaced the cover in a thrilling run to the line. Hargreaves again converted.’
      • ‘Vryas gets the ball, but is dispossessed on the edge of the penalty area.’
      • ‘But Celtic went ahead in the 10th minute and it came after Stuart Duff had been dispossessed by Petrov close to the half-way line.’
      • ‘Running the ball, the move came to nothing and Waterloo went back downfield for a decisive fourth try when Graham was isolated and dispossessed inside his own 22 and centre Mark Tattersall strode over to seal the comeback.’
      • ‘Duffy failed to deal with a kick from England outhalf Matthew Leek, delaying his pick up so long he was tackled and dispossessed.’


Late 15th century from Old French despossesser, from des- (expressing reversal) + possesser ‘possess’.