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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English owen, aȝen, from Old English āgen (own, proper, peculiar), originally the past participle of āgan; from Proto-West Germanic *aigan (own), from Proto-Germanic *aiganaz (own), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eyḱ- (to have, possess).

Also cognate with Sanskrit ईश्वर (īśvará, able to do, capable of; owner, master).

Alternative forms[edit]

  • owne (obsolete)
  • 'n (informal contraction)


own (not comparable)

  1. Belonging to; possessed; acquired; proper to; property of; titled to; held in one's name; under/using the name of. Often marks a possessive determiner as reflexive, referring back to the subject of the clause or sentence.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Deuteronomy 24:16:
      The fathers shall not bee put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: euery man shall be put to death for his owne sinne.
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i], page 14:
      Prospero: Fairely ſpoke ; / Sit then, and talke with her, ſhe is thine owne ;
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter VIII, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter X, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      He looked round the poor room, at the distempered walls, and the bad engravings in meretricious frames, the crinkly paper and wax flowers on the chiffonier; and he thought of a room like Father Bryan's, with panelling, with cut glass, with tulips in silver pots, such a room as he had hoped to have for his own.
    • 2013 June 21, Oliver Burkeman, “The tao of tech”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 27:
      The dirty secret of the internet is that all this distraction and interruption is immensely profitable. Web companies like to boast about […], or offering services that let you [] "share the things you love with the world" and so on. But the real way to build a successful online business is to be better than your rivals at undermining people's control of their own attention.
  2. Not shared.
    When we move into the new house, the kids will each have their own bedroom.
  3. (obsolete) Peculiar, domestic.
  4. (obsolete) Not foreign.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Often used for implication of ownership, often with emphasis. In modern usage, it always follows a possessive determiner, or a noun in the possessive case.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

A back-formation from owner, owning and own (adjective). Compare Old English āgnian, Dutch eigenen, German eignen, Swedish ägna.


own (third-person singular simple present owns, present participle owning, simple past and past participle owned)

  1. (transitive) To have rightful possession of (property, goods or capital); to have legal title to; to acquire a property or asset.
    I own this car.
  2. (transitive) To have recognized political sovereignty over a place, territory, as distinct from the ordinary connotation of property ownership.
    The United States owns Point Roberts by the terms of the Treaty of Oregon.
  3. (transitive) To defeat or embarrass; to overwhelm.
    I will own my enemies.
    If he wins, he will own you.
  4. (transitive) To virtually or figuratively enslave.
  5. (online gaming, slang) To defeat, dominate, or be above, also spelled pwn.
  6. (transitive, computing, slang) To illicitly obtain superuser or root access to a computer system, thereby having access to all of the user files on that system; pwn.
    • 1996 June 21, The Happiest Dragon Alive!!, “Re: An unusual situation”, in [1] (Usenet), retrieved 2016-09-24, message-ID <4qe8pc$8ti@nerd.apk.net>:
      "TH15 5Y5T3M 15 0WN3D"
  7. (intransitive, slang) To be very good.
  8. (intransitive) To admit, concede, grant, allow, acknowledge, confess; not to deny.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
      I own thy speechless, placeless power; but to the last gasp of my earthquake life will dispute its unconditional, unintegral mastery in me.
    • 1895, Kenneth Graham, The Golden Age, London, page 6:
      For instance, when I flung the cat out of an upper window (though I did it from no ill-feeling, and it didn't hurt the cat), I was ready, after a moment's reflection, to own I was wrong, as a gentleman should.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], →OCLC, part I:
      I am sorry to own I began to worry then.
    • 1913, D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, chapter 5, in Sons and Lovers, London: Duckworth & Co. [], →OCLC:
      They learned how perfectly peaceful the home could be. And they almost regretted—though none of them would have owned to such callousness—that their father was soon coming back.
  9. (transitive) To admit; concede; acknowledge.
  10. (transitive) To proudly acknowledge; to not be ashamed or embarrassed of.
    • 2014 April 17, Dan Shive, El Goonish Shive (webcomic), Comic for Thursday, Apr 17, 2014:
      "Well, I'm not hiding anymore! I'm owning my girly looks with cute short pink hair!"
  11. (transitive) To take responsibility for.
  12. (transitive) To recognise; acknowledge.
    to own one as a son
  13. (transitive) To claim as one's own.
  14. (intransitive, UK dialectal) To confess.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


own (plural owns)

  1. (Internet slang) A crushing insult.
    • 2023 June 10, @__Happyface, Twitter[2]:
      the amount of bigots that just screenshot my profile thinking it's the biggest own is insane.
Derived terms[edit]


  • Universal Dictionary of the English Language [UDEL], volume 3, 1896, page 3429: “To possess by right; to have the right of property in; to have the legal right or rightful title to.
  • ibid., UDEL, 1896
  • ibid., UDEL, 1896
  • ibid., UDEL, 1896





  1. aw (used to express affection)


For quotations using this term, see Citations:own.




  1. Alternative form of oan
      Vo no own caars fadere betides
      Whom no one cares what betides,[1]
      Esholthet own anoree[2]


  1. ^ Kathleen A. Browne (1927) The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Sixth Series, Vol.17 No.2, Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, page 131
  2. ^ Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 18