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

Examples of ownership in a Sentence

The company is under private ownership.
Recent Examples on the Web Since 1978, cartoonist Jim Davis has explored the quotidian dramas of pet ownership via the daily travails of beleaguered Jon Arbuckle, his eager dog, Odie, and the titular tubby orange tabby, Garfield. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2024 Keough, an actor, inherited the trust and ownership of the home after the death of her mother, Lisa Marie Presley, last year. CBS News, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for ownership 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ownership.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


owner + -ship

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 27 May. 2024.

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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