own·​er·​ship | \ ˈō-nər-ˌship How to pronounce ownership (audio) \

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 The House bill renewing VAWA would expand the list of laws prohibiting gun ownership to include misdemeanor stalking and several domestic abuse crimes. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Invoking deaths of two women at Texas A&M-Commerce, Rep. Colin Allred urges Senate to pass gun laws, reauthorize VAWA," 7 Feb. 2020 Clemency can take two forms: commutations shorten sentences, and pardons erase the civil consequences of criminal convictions, including limits on gun ownership, jury service and voting rights. Author: Beth Reinhard, Anne Gearan, Anchorage Daily News, "Most clemency grants bypass Justice Department and go to well-connected offenders," 3 Feb. 2020 At least not on Friday when the gun rights supporters showed up on the lawn en masse to try to convince the Kentucky General Assembly not to pass a handful of laws that would restrict gun ownership in the state. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Gerth: Got a gun, go on in. At Kentucky Capitol, only people not packing heat are screened," 31 Jan. 2020 The state’s historical support for limiting restrictions on firearms ownership has been bolstered by the N.R.A., which is based in the state’s northern suburbs. Timothy Williams, New York Times, "What Made Virginia Change Its Mind on Guns?," 30 Jan. 2020 The proposal would eliminate a 3 percent cap on ownership of a venture capital fund. Renae Merle, Washington Post, "Federal Reserve proposes weakening ‘Volcker rule,’ key post-financial crisis regulation," 30 Jan. 2020 Sanders owns firearms, and is a gun-ownership advocate, according to the release. Chris Mayhew, Cincinnati.com, "Covington man who admitted to smoking marijuana while handling guns pleads guilty in shooting death," 29 Jan. 2020 Legislators have been reluctant to impose any restrictions on gun ownership and this year passed a new law affirming the right of Texans to carry concealed firearms in schools and places of worship. Allie Morris, ExpressNews.com, "Taxpayer-funded gun locks are free to Texans — unless they have the wrong ‘political agenda’," 15 Jan. 2020 The Chinese government lifted restrictions on foreign ownership for auto manufacturers in 2018. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "Tesla’s Has Delivered Its First China-Made Vehicles. Now It’s Time to Face the Competition," 10 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for ownership

Time Traveler

The first known use of ownership was in 1583

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Statistics for ownership

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ownership.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ownership. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for ownership


How to pronounce ownership (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ownership

: the state or fact of owning something


own·​er·​ship | \ ˈō-nər-ˌship How to pronounce ownership (audio) \

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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