property

play
noun prop·er·ty \ ˈprä-pər-tē \
Updated on: 26 Jul 2017

Definition of property

plural properties
1 a :a quality or trait belonging and especially peculiar to an individual or thing
b :an effect that an object has on another object or on the senses
c :virtue 2
d :an attribute common to all members of a class
2 a :something owned or possessed; specifically :a piece of real estate
b :the exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing :ownership
c :something to which a person or business has a legal title
d :one (such as a performer) who is under contract and whose work is especially valuable
e :a book or script purchased for publication or production
3 :an article or object used in a play or motion picture except painted scenery and costumes

propertyless

play \-ləs\ adjective

propertylessness

play \-nəs\ noun

Examples of property in a Sentence

  1. We are not responsible for the loss of personal property.

  2. He was trying to sell stolen property.

  3. He was caught trespassing on private property.

  4. She owns all sorts of property around town.

  5. The students were caught smoking on school property.

  6. He owns several valuable properties in the area.

  7. a developer of commercial properties

  8. One of the properties of helium is its lightness.

  9. A unique property of garlic is its strong odor.

  10. The two plants have similar physical properties.

Recent Examples of property from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'property.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of property

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

property Synonyms

Synonyms
parcel, plat, plot, lot, tract
Related Words
patch; frontage; lease; development; real estate

Synonym Discussion of 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

Financial Definition of PROPERTY

property

What It Is

Marital property is property owned by a married couple.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe and Jane Smith get married. On the day of the wedding, John owns a 1988 Camaro, 10 sets of speakers, and his clothes. Jane owns a house, a Lexus, a house full of furniture and $200,000 in savings and investments. They buy a timeshare in Aruba together after the wedding.

Depending on the state in which John and Jane wed, live or divorce, everything they own while married might be considered marital property. That is, what is John's before the wedding is now Jane's too; what is Jane's before the wedding is now John's too.

Accordingly, when Jane decides to dump John, she may have to give a portion of her home equity, furniture, and savings and investments to John even though she purchased those before she was married. John's Camaro, speakers, and even his clothes may technically be half his. The timeshare must also be divided. In some states, only the property that John and Jane acquire during the marriage has to be split, and in some jurisdictions, the court can decide who gets what and whether the split is 50/50.

Why It Matters

Every state has its own laws regarding what constitutes marital property and how it is divided in the event of a divorce. In many cases, "equitable" does not mean "50/50." In the earliest days of marriage, the wife's property became the husband's property upon marriage; only when the husband died would a wife receive property. Those times have certainly changed.

It is important to note that some courts do not consider certain kinds of property marital property even if it is acquired during the marriage. These special exceptions often apply to property that a person inherits, property that a person obtains in exchange for something he or she acquired before the marriage, or property listed in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.



PROPERTY Defined for English Language Learners

property

play
noun

Definition of property for English Language Learners

  • : something that is owned by a person, business, etc.

  • : a piece of land often with buildings on it that is owned by a person, business, etc.

  • : a special quality or characteristic of something


PROPERTY Defined for Kids

property

play
noun prop·er·ty \ ˈprä-pər-tē \

Definition of property for Students

plural properties
1 :something (as land or money) that is owned
  • That car is my property.
2 :a special quality of a thing
  • Sweetness is a property of sugar.

Law Dictionary

property

noun prop·er·ty

legal Definition of property

plural properties
1 :something (as an interest, money, or land) that is owned or possessed — see also asset, estate, interest 1, possession 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
1 :property (as proceeds) that a debtor acquires after the commencement of a bankruptcy case and that is usually considered part of the bankruptcy estate
2 :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
3 :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 tenancyownership 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; specificallyin 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
1 :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
2 :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
2 :one or more rights of ownership

Origin and Etymology of property

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



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