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The person recognized by the law as having the ultimate control over, and right to use, property as long as the law permits and no agreement or Covenant limits his or her rights.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. one who has legal title or right to something. Contrary to the cynical adage: "Possession is nine-tenths of the law," possession does not necessarily make one a legal owner. (See: own)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

OWNER, property. The owner is he who has dominion of a thing real or personal, corporeal or incorporeal, which he has a right to enjoy and to do with as he pleases, even to spoil or destroy it, as far as the law permits, unless he be prevented by some agreement or covenant which restrains his right.
     2. The right of the owner is more extended than that of him who has only the use of the thing. The owner of an estate may, therefore change the face of it; he may cut the wood, demolish the buildings, build new ones, and dig wherever he may deem proper, for minerals, stone, plaster, and similar things. He may commit what would be considered waste if done by another.
     3. The owner continues to have the same right although he perform no acts of ownership, or be disabled from performing them, and although another perform such acts, without the knowledge or against the will of the owner. But the owner may lose his right in a thing, if he permit it to remain in the possession of a third person, for sufficient time to enable the latter to acquire a title to it by prescription, or lapse of time. See Civil Code of Louis. B. 2, t. 2, c. 1; Encyclopedie de M. D'Alembert, Proprietaire.
     4. When there are several joint owners of a thing, as for example, of a ship, the majority of them have the right to make contracts in respect of such thing, in the usual course of business or repair, and the like, and the minority will be bound by such contracts. Holt, 586; 1 Bell's Com. 519, 5th ed. See 5 Whart. R. 366.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jacob Tzvi Mecklenburg (Ha-Ketav ve-ha-Kabbalah, ad loc.) takes the "ownerless" meaning in another direction, that of the apikoros, the heretic.
According to Lansing's common but somewhat misleading assessment, Spitsbergen fast presented 'a unique international problem': Overlooking its modern history, much as Scott did, he wrote: "No nation has ever considered it worth its while to occupy them or to asset sovereignty over them;" "[tjhus the archipelago remained unoccupied, and it became generally recognized that Spitsbergen was terra nullis, a 'no man's land.'" (182) But it was ownerless property in the unusual sense that states were maneuvering to preclude any state's sole title to this territory that nevertheless had become enmeshed in conflicting multinational private property disputes.
At the end of the 1940s the state began to sell the ownerless cars to private individuals.
Andrew Bell, Bona Vacantia (stating, in reference to property for which the identity of the owner is unknown, "the most that can be said is that the owner is unlikely to come forward, so that it is not unreasonable to assimilate the case to one of ownerless property"), in INTERESTS IN GOODS, supra note 13, at 207, 212.
The second murder comes even more easily, with the added benefit that the victim's now ownerless dog, Banjo, is a dead ringer for the late Poppy, becoming the unofficial mascot of their spree.
"Ownerless" territories present the same problem as the "high seas." The rules need to be updated to better combat crime on the high seas.
I left the door to Ellen's house yawning open and plunged through the ownerless neighborhood's wracked streets, the darkened windows darker than the city below, plywood appearing now where lost boys had thrown brick and stone through tall glass.
No less, man, bounded, yearning to be free, May so project his surplusage of soul In search of body, so add self to self By owning what lay ownerless before,-- So find, so fill full, so appropriate forms.
The Minister instructed the Jaffna Mayor to take over under her control the water logged ownerless lands, and to clean them so as to prevent them from becoming mosquito breeding grounds.
"It so happened that our meeting with Moroccan counterparts took place at the very same hour that the UN Security Council was adopting a resolution on the spread of weaponry from Libya where the conflict made its stockpiles practically ownerless," Churkin said.