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

Most people don’t really take ownership of their health. Eric Johnson, Recode, "23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki says ‘one of our biggest competitors’ is fake science on sites like Goop," 20 Oct. 2018 That’s a marked change from Bungie’s last split, which saw Microsoft retaining ownership of Halo for all eternity. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Bungie divorces Activision, Epic gives our favorite game of 2017 away for free," 11 Jan. 2019 In line with the megaproducer’s longtime business model, Harpo will retain 100 percent ownership of all content created for Apple. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Oprah Deal Part of Apple's Push for Broad Audience," 26 June 2018 The company is looking to retain ownership of the land while allowing the city to build the park. John Sowell, idahostatesman, "Now it's a Downtown Boise parking lot. Soon it may be a 10-story building with a park," 12 June 2018 The de Bourgo family built the medieval stronghold in the 13th century and retained ownership for 350 years. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Might Be Honeymooning at Ireland's Ultra-Swanky Ashford Castle," 7 June 2018 The city will retain ownership of the remaining 13 acres for construction of a future train station, should the need arise, City Manager Doug Krieger said. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "City council approves selling 8.2 acres of surplus land in west Naperville for $2.2 million," 6 June 2018 Nigerian lawmakers who want to block President Muhammadu Buhari’s plans to sell an idle steel plant are moving to approve $1 billion of spending from oil savings to retain state ownership even before audits to determine its value are completed. David Malingha Doya, Bloomberg.com, "Nigerian MPs Are Said to Seek $1 Billion for Steel Plant," 31 May 2018 Softbank will receive a 19.6 percent stake in GM Cruise in exchange for the investment, which puts its market value at $11.5 billion, while General Motors will retain ownership of the rest of the LLC. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "GM Cruise self-driving car company gets $2.25 billion investment," 31 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of ownership

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ownership

Statistics for ownership

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ownership

The first known use of ownership was in 1583

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ownership



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

Keep scrolling for more

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 affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!