own·​er·​ship | \ ˈō-nər-ˌship \

Definition of ownership

1 : the state, relation, or fact of being an owner
2 : a group or organization of owners

Examples of ownership in a Sentence

The company is under private ownership.

Recent Examples on the Web

There's a powerful difference between an impulse to take the blame no matter who's at fault and a genuine desire to take ownership of a situation and move on. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Tiffany Haddish Bombed a Stand-Up Set, But It's Her Apology After That Matters," 2 Jan. 2019 Indonesia is building new highways and car ownership is growing. Nithin Coca, Vox, "The most important country for the global climate no one is talking about," 6 Dec. 2018 And Sky’s ownership of sports broadcasting rights, notably those for the English Premier League, is especially attractive. New York Times, "Comcast and Fox Engage in Bidding War for Control of Sky," 11 July 2018 How long will ownership be willing to sustain such a high payroll if no meaningful progress is made towards contending? Ben Golliver, SI.com, "2018 NBA Free Agency: The Early Winners And Losers," 5 July 2018 Yet a rising number of middle-class Americans are finding that home ownership is unaffordable. Josh Boak, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: Falling home sales not helping middle-class buyers," 23 Jan. 2019 Obviously, this makes home ownership a lot more accessible to a lot more people. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "No Joke, You Can Buy A House In Indiana For $1," 14 Jan. 2019 The studio is part of 21st Century Fox , which shares common ownership with News Corp, parent company of The Wall Street Journal. Maria Armental, WSJ, "Netflix Sued Over Alleged ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Trademark Infringement," 11 Jan. 2019 Additionally, the settlement does not relieve the costs borne by the state’s 20 electric cooperatives, which also shared ownership in the project. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Owner of failed nuclear plant might use golden parachute fund in settlement," 27 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of ownership

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for ownership

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ownership

The first known use of ownership was in 1583

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More Definitions for ownership



English Language Learners Definition of ownership

: the state or fact of owning something


own·​er·​ship | \ ˈō-nər-ˌship \

Kids Definition of ownership

: the state or fact of owning something home ownership



Legal Definition of ownership

: 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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Comments on ownership

What made you want to look up ownership? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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