own·​er·​ship ˈō-nər-ˌship How to pronounce ownership (audio)
: the state, relation, or fact of being an owner
: a group or organization of owners

Example Sentences

The company is under private ownership.
Recent Examples on the Web Conservatives and agricultural businesses worry that the new constitution could affect water rights ownership and damage business activities. Daniela Mohor, CNN, 22 Nov. 2022 But all of this came with a significant trade-off: premium up-front fees for creators in place of true ownership and participation in the long-term upside of success. Jeremy Zimmer, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Nov. 2022 An Associated Press analysis found Colorado has one of the lowest rates of red flag usage despite widespread gun ownership and several high-profile mass shootings. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Nov. 2022 An Associated Press analysis found Colorado has one of the lowest rates of red flag usage despite widespread gun ownership and several high-profile mass shootings. Bernard Condon And Colleen Slevin, Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2022 McCourt has already committed $150 million to the project, which aims to build a new layer of the internet that gives users control and ownership of their personal data. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 21 Nov. 2022 Birdwatch may be part of the future of content moderation under Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter, where layoffs claimed half the staff, including an undetermined number of the people who were responsible for vetting questionable posts on the site. Jeremy B. Merrill, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2022 Adding to the worries is the new ownership of Twitter by billionaire Elon Musk, a free speech advocate. Elizabeth Dwoskin, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Oct. 2022 Conservative Twitter users — including lawmakers, Fox News hosts and others who have accused the mainstream tech platforms of censoring their views — were gleeful over Mr. Musk’s ownership of Twitter. Ryan Mac, New York Times, 28 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ownership.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ownership was in 1583

Dictionary Entries Near ownership

Cite this Entry

“Ownership.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ownership. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Legal Definition



: the state, relation, or fact of being an owner
also : the rights or interests of an owner
absolute ownership
: ownership especially by a single person that is free of any encumbrances or limitations other than statutory law compare fee simple absolute at fee simple
ostensible ownership \ ä-​ˈsten-​sə-​bəl-​ \
: ownership that is apparent rather than actual and that sometimes is recognized in cases of purchase of the property by an innocent third party a dispute arising from the dealer's ostensible ownership and sale of the collateral

Note: A purchaser from a person with ostensible ownership of property may be able to defeat the claim to the property of the actual owner who created the ostensible ownership.

ownership in indivision
in the civil law of Louisiana : ownership by two or more persons each having undivided shares in the property as a whole compare community property at property
qualified ownership
: ownership that is limited by time, the interest of another party, or restrictions on the use of the property had only qualified ownership of the fish and game on his property due to state restrictions
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