Skip to content

Legal Definitions: Own, Owner, Ownership

May 6, 2011

Author’s Note:

In my part of the world, criminal investigators and even prosecutors seem to have a problem distinguishing between the definitions of “own” versus “possess” as the legal definitions pertain to gun laws. I hope this helps them to understand that owning an object is inherently different than possessing it.

*  *  *

ownership n. legal title coupled with exclusive legal right to possession. Co-ownership, however, means that more than one person has a legal interest in the same thing. (See: own)

ownership noun claimcontroldominionholdingmasteryoccupancypossessorshipproprietorshipright of possessionseisintenancytenuretitleuse

Associated concepts: absolute ownership, apparent ownership, certificate of ownership, change of ownership, exclusive ownership, incident of ownership, individual ownership, joint ownershipoccupation, ownership rights, possessionproprietary interest, qualified ownership, silent partner, sole ownership, sole proprietor, tenancy by the entirety, transfer of ownership, unconditional ownership, undisclosed interest, unqualified ownership.

See also: adverse  possessionclaimdominionenjoymentinterestoccupancyoccupationpossessionpossessionspropertyrightseisinstakesubstancetenancytitleuse

Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an objectland/real estate or intellectual property.

Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties.

Ownership is the basis for many other concepts that form the foundations of ancient and modern societies such as moneytrade,debtbankruptcy, the criminality of theft and private vs. public property.

Ownership is the key building block in the development of the capitalist socio-economic system.

The process and mechanics of ownership are fairly complex since one can gain, transfer and lose ownership of property in a number of ways.

To acquire property one can:

  1. purchase it with money,
  2. trade it for other property,
  3. receive it as a gift,
  4. steal it,
  5. find it,
  6. make it or
  7. homestead it.
  8. One can transfer or lose ownership of property by selling it for money,
  9.  exchanging it for other property,
  10. giving it as a gift, being robbed of it,
  11.  misplacing it, or
  12. having it stripped from one’s ownership through legal means such as evictionforeclosureseizure or taking.

Ownership is self-propagating in that the owner of any property will also own the economic benefits of that property.


For People’s Law Dictionary:

ownership. (n.d.) The People’s Law Dictionary. (2005). Retrieved May 6 2011 from

For Burton’s Legal Thesaurus:

ownership. (n.d.) Burton’s Legal Thesaurus, 4E. (2007). Retrieved May 6 2011 from

For Law Dictionary by John Bouvier:

ownership. (n.d.) A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier.. (1856). Retrieved May 6 2011 from

  1. F*ckin’ tremendous issues here. I am very satisfied to peer your article. Thank you a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  2. permalink

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  3. Thanks for your publication. One other thing is individual American states have their own laws that will affect house owners, which makes it quite difficult for the our lawmakers to come up with a whole new set of rules concerning foreclosed on homeowners. The problem is that every state has got own laws which may have impact in an adverse manner in relation to foreclosure insurance plans.

Don't be shy! Leave a Reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: