prop·​er·​ty ˈprä-pər-tē How to pronounce property (audio)
plural properties
: a quality or trait belonging and especially peculiar to an individual or thing
: an effect that an object has on another object or on the senses
: an attribute common to all members of a class
: something owned or possessed
specifically : a piece of real estate
: the exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing : ownership
: something to which a person or business has a legal title
: one (such as a performer) who is under contract and whose work is especially valuable
: a book or script purchased for publication or production
: an article or object used in a play or motion picture except painted scenery and costumes
propertyless adjective
propertylessness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for property

quality, property, character, attribute mean an intelligible feature by which a thing may be identified.

quality is a general term applicable to any trait or characteristic whether individual or generic.

material with a silky quality

property implies a characteristic that belongs to a thing's essential nature and may be used to describe a type or species.

the property of not conducting heat

character applies to a peculiar and distinctive quality of a thing or a class.

remarks of an unseemly character

attribute implies a quality ascribed to a thing or a being.

the attributes of a military hero

Examples of property in a Sentence

We are not responsible for the loss of personal property. He was trying to sell stolen property. He was caught trespassing on private property. She owns all sorts of property around town. The students were caught smoking on school property. He owns several valuable properties in the area. a developer of commercial properties One of the properties of helium is its lightness. A unique property of garlic is its strong odor. The two plants have similar physical properties.
Recent Examples on the Web The group will meet monthly for the rest of the year to try and reach consensus on what a memorial on the nightclub property should look like. Ryan Gillespie, Orlando Sentinel, 10 July 2024 Currently, if squatters enter a property and take it over illegally, the rightful owners face significant challenges in evicting the people and reclaiming their property. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 10 July 2024 All competitors can train within 20 minutes of the village, and over half of them can train on the property. Hannah Malach, WWD, 10 July 2024 An Arizona judge on Tuesday dismissed the case against rancher George Alan Kelly, who was charged with murder after being accused of shooting a Mexican national on his border property. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 10 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for property 

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

Word History


Middle English proprete, from Anglo-French propreté, from Latin proprietat-, proprietas, from proprius own

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of property was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near property

Cite this Entry

“Property.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


prop·​er·​ty ˈpräp-ərt-ē How to pronounce property (audio)
plural properties
: a special quality of something
the commutative property of addition
sweetness is a property of sugar
: something (as land, goods, or money) that is owned
that lamp is my aunt's property
especially : a piece of real estate
a business property
: something other than scenery or costumes that is used in a play or movie
propertyless adjective

Legal Definition


plural properties
: something (as an interest, money, or land) that is owned or possessed see also asset, estate, interest sense 1, possession sense 1e
abandoned property
: property to which the owner has relinquished all rights

Note: When property is abandoned, the owner gives up the reasonable expectation of privacy concerning it. The finder of abandoned property is entitled to keep it, and a police officer may take possession of abandoned property as evidence without violating the guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

after-acquired property
: property (as proceeds) that a debtor acquires after the commencement of a bankruptcy case and that is usually considered part of the bankruptcy estate
: property acquired after the perfection of a lien or security interest
especially : such property acquired after the creation of a lien or security interest that is subject to the lien or becomes collateral for the security interest
: property transferred to the estate of a decedent after execution of the will
common property
: property owned or used by more than one party
specifically : property owned or leased by tenants in common compare tenancy in common at tenancy
community property
: property held jointly by husband and wife
specifically : property especially from employment acquired by either spouse after marriage that is deemed in states having a community property system to belong to both spouses as undivided one-half interests compare joint tenancy and tenancy by the entirety at tenancy ownership in indivision at ownership

Note: The states having community property laws are Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

immovable property
: real property in this entry
specifically, in the civil law of Louisiana : tracts of land with their component parts
intangible property
: property (as a stock certificate or professional license) that derives value not from its intrinsic physical nature but from what it represents
intellectual property \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈlek-​chə-​wəl-​ \
: property that derives from the work of the mind or intellect
specifically : an idea, invention, trade secret, process, program, data, formula, patent, copyright, or trademark or application, right, or registration relating thereto
lost property
: property that has been left in an unknown location involuntarily but through no one's fault

Note: The finder of lost property has title to the property against all the world except the true owner.

marital property
: property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage that is subject to division upon divorce see also antenuptial agreement

Note: In most states, upon divorce marital property is divided according to what the court determines is equitable.

movable property
: property (as personal property or crops) that can be moved
personal property
: property (as a vehicle) that is movable but not including crops or other resources still attached to land : property other than real property a tax on the personal property of the corporation
: property belonging to a particular person
qualified terminable interest property
: property passing to a surviving spouse that qualifies for the marital deduction if the executor so elects providing that the spouse is entitled to receive income in payments made at least annually for life and that no one has a power to appoint any part of the property to any person other than the surviving spouse see also QTIP trust at trust

Note: Under federal tax law the property must be included in the gross estate of the surviving spouse at his or her own death, where it is subject to taxation.

real property
: property consisting of land, buildings, crops, or other resources still attached to or within the land or improvements or fixtures permanently attached to the land or a structure on it
also : an interest, benefit, right, or privilege in such property

called also immovable property

separate property
: property of a spouse that is not community property or marital property
especially : property acquired by a spouse before marriage or individually during marriage (as by gift or often by inheritance)
tangible property
: property that has a tangible and corporeal existence and intrinsic economic value because of it the insurance policy restricted property damage coverage to tangible property compare intangible property in this entry
: one or more rights of ownership

Anglo-French propreté, proprieté, from Latin proprietat-, proprietas, from proprius own, particular

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