what possessed somebody to do something?

What possessed (someone) to (do something)?

Why would someone do something so reckless, foolish, or dangerous? What possessed you to participate in a road race? You could have gotten yourself killed! What possessed them to discontinue such a popular product? They were selling like hotcakes!
See also: possessed, to, what
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

what(ever) posˈsessed somebody to do something?

used to ask why somebody did something bad, stupid, unexpected, etc: ‘She drove straight to the airport and got on the first plane.’ ‘What possessed her to do that?’This phrase refers to the belief that people can be controlled (‘possessed’) by an evil spirit.
See also: possessed, somebody, to, what
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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