possessed by

possessed by (something)

Obsessively motivated or driven by something. He has always been possessed by a need to be the center of attention, which is why he is playing those stupid pranks all the time. Because he grew up in such poverty, my father was possessed by a desire to be wealthy.
See also: by, possessed
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*possessed by something

obsessed or driven by something. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) Ned was possessed by a desire to become the best at everything he did. Jan acts as if she is possessed by the need to be right all the time.
See also: by, possessed
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

possessed by

Driven by, obsessed with, as in He was possessed by the idea of becoming a millionaire. This idiom employs possess in the sense of "dominate one's thoughts or ideas," a usage dating from the late 1500s.
See also: by, possessed
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Bank president Neil McCurry is a man possessed by films--so smitten that, as a 40th birthday present to himself last summer, he wrote, filmed and produced a 20-minute horror movie called Possessed, which premiered last fall at the Eerie Horror Film Festival in Erie, Pa.
(John's gospel, interestingly, has no stories about demons, but Jesus is accused of being possessed by one on three separate occasions.)
Knowledge possessed by an organization helps in generating innovations, making changes to product and service offerings and outwitting competitors.
The last component of the knowledge audit is to link the knowledge assets possessed by the organization with the overall mission, competitive strategies and core capabilities of the organization.
Each crimped polyester fiber possesses a tensile strenght about the same as the tensile factor possessed by an otherwise identical uncrimped polyester fiber.
The secular books possessed by the Novarese priests can be divided into a number of categories.
Among the Renaissance and contemporary authors possessed by the Novarese priests, the only ones found with some frequency were those who served as models of literary style.
One cult member is possessed by the Governor, others by the General and his staff; the movements of the Hauka mimic the rigid gestures of these colonial masters, as Rouch shows them in a parade-ground march.
All officers, particularly narcotics officers, should inquire about weapons possessed by known felons when interviewing informants or witnesses.
That this description comes from Tashi during a session with her psychoanalyst strengthens Sander Gilman's claim that "the line from the secrets possessed by the 'Hottentot Venus' to twentieth-century psychoanalysis runs reasonably straight" (257).
Noting the common personification of women as abstract virtue in private scientific imagery as well as in public statuary, Jordanova overlooks the implications of authority in these images to dwell on the metaphor of nature as an erotic woman covered and veiled, quiescent in waiting to be unveiled and possessed by male scientists.
(When I arrived at Beauvoir's temple, he appeared to be possessed by Ogoun, the god of warriors whose symbol is fire; the participants at the ceremony knew which god had possessed him because of the dance he was performing.) Voudon is a "danced religion." Beauvoir, the president of the National Body of Voudonists, explained that "in voudon we sacrifice to the gods, but the top sacrifice is dance.
A board's knowledge of conducting business or evaluating the quality of opportunities in a specific country may differ from that possessed by the company's management.
Bergerus convinced the estates to let him have the heart and right eye of the wolf to use "as a remedy for people possessed by the devil, as he himself said."