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 Morton & Germany is representing Riley Keough and The Promenade Trust, which controls ownership of the Graceland estate. Neil Strebig, USA TODAY, 27 June 2024 The complaint asserts that the two entities misrepresented ownership of Jenni Rivera’s music, name, image and likeness, and had raked in millions in profit — money that should have gone to the estate. Fidel Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2024 There's extensive national research showing college-degree holders have higher employment and home ownership rates. Kelly Meyerhofer, Journal Sentinel, 27 June 2024 Ireland and Canada round out the top three nations with the highest rate of home ownership. Sara Chernikoff, The Courier-Journal, 26 June 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 12 Jul. 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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