Definition of own in English:


pronoun & adjective

  • 1Used with a possessive to emphasize that someone or something belongs or relates to the person mentioned.

    [as adjective] ‘they can't handle their own children’
    ‘I was an outcast among my own kind’
    [as pronoun] ‘the Church would look after its own’
    1. 1.1Done or produced by and for the person mentioned.
      [as adjective] ‘I used to design all my own clothes’
      [as pronoun] ‘they claimed the work as their own’
    2. 1.2Particular to the person or thing mentioned; individual.
      [as adjective] ‘the style had its own charm’
      [as pronoun] ‘the film had a quality all its own’
      personal, individual, particular, private, personalized, idiosyncratic, characteristic, unique
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  • 1[with object] Have (something) as one's own; possess.

    ‘his father owns a restaurant’
    ‘a state-owned company’
    • ‘They also have no problem with living with massive student debt as they start out their adult life, and they have no illusions about ever owning their own home.’
    • ‘My family haven't ever owned land and there isn't a farm anywhere which one day I'll inherit.’
    • ‘Her father, who owns a bank, is reputed to be the wealthiest man in Spain.’
    • ‘His parents live in Kolkata; his father owns a portrait photo studio and his mother is a floral stylist.’
    • ‘He was installed in a pharmacy owned by his father on nearby Observatory Street.’
    • ‘My father owns a packaging company, and is also a sales representative for his company.’
    • ‘She dropped them and looked about the room, trying to picture it as it had once been when her father's friend had owned it.’
    • ‘He might have been working with gold, but his father certainly owned no golden goose.’
    • ‘And just that morning, we had buried a childless woman who had lived 86 years without ever owning a car.’
    • ‘Some would claim that he was born at Dougharne Hill where his father also owned another house.’
    • ‘You never nurse the slightest notion of ever owning those clothes.’
    • ‘My father owned Cook's demolition yard just down from here and my eldest son was born there.’
    • ‘None of my family or friends have ever owned big businesses or been corporate consultants.’
    • ‘He said his father owned a light aircraft, which he was allowed to use.’
    • ‘I know that deep down it wouldn't feel right in my heart, but it might just be the closest I ever get to owning a pair.’
    • ‘Having no means of his own, he has given up all hope of ever owning a nice home.’
    • ‘Her grandparents ran the old Savernake Forest Hotel and her father owned nightclubs.’
    • ‘It was here that he met his first wife Ann whose father owned a coalmine in West Virginia -.’
    • ‘Ever fancied owning a stretch of a famous salmon river, but found yourself about a million quid short of the asking price?’
    • ‘His hobby doesn't come cheap but, helpfully, his father owns a polo yard in Sussex.’
    be the owner of, possess, be the possessor of, be the proud possessor of, have in one's possession, have to one's name, count among one's possessions, have, keep, retain, maintain, hold, be blessed with, enjoy, boast
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  • 2formal [no object] Admit or acknowledge that something is the case or that one feels a certain way.

    ‘she owned to a feeling of profound jealousy’
    [with clause] ‘he was reluctant to own that he was indebted’
    • ‘A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong,’
    • ‘Hume was quite well aware that Berkeley would not have owned to being a sceptic.’
    admit, allow, concede, grant, accept, accede, acknowledge, recognize, agree, confess
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    1. 2.1[with object]Take or acknowledge full responsibility for (something)
      ‘I emphasize the importance of owning our anger and finding ways to control it’
      • ‘Own your anger by expressing it with "I" statements: "I really get mad when you leave dirty dishes in the sink."’
      • ‘Just because you're scared of something now doesn't mean you won't own your fear in days to come.’
    2. 2.2archaic [with object]Acknowledge paternity, authorship, or possession of.
      ‘he has published little, trivial things which he will not own’
  • 3US informal [with object] Utterly defeat (an opponent or rival); completely get the better of.

    ‘yeah right, she totally owned you, man’
    • ‘I owned you guys. Admit it please.’
    • ‘So now I owned you so much to the point that you rely on using quotes from movies as comebacks instead of creating your own?’


  • as if (or like) one owns the place

    • informal In an overbearing or self-important manner.

      ‘he would have walked in and taken charge as if he owned the place’
      • ‘If he walks up like he owns the place, he's probably going to treat women like property.’
      • ‘She walks around my apartment as if she owns the place and tells me what I can and can't do and the way it's going to be.’
  • be one's own man (or woman)

    • 1Act independently and with confidence.

      ‘I must show them that I am my own man, not merely my father's shadow’
      ‘behind everything she did was a raw power that emphasized she was her own woman’
      • ‘In his early 60s, Luke was his own man and paid scant attention or heed to the conventions of modern day life.’
      • ‘They taught me self-respect and they showed me how to be my own woman - never to lie, never to lose my sense of humour and always to treasure my friends.’
      • ‘From the very beginning she made it clear that she was her own woman - election badges during her husband's 1992 campaign read ‘two for the price of one’.’
      • ‘He looks tired but there is a sort of weary exhilaration about him: he may be floury and exhausted but he is his own man, producing food he believes in.’
      • ‘And he was his own man, unaffected by spin-doctors.’
      • ‘For the first time in a long while he found himself able to walk to the docks with his head held high, confident in the knowledge that he was his own man once more.’
      • ‘Now Russell, 48, is his own man and is beginning to exude a confidence and gentle humour that wasn't always to the fore when he was finance director.’
      • ‘No longer constrained by the pressure of his work as a practising architect, he was his own man.’
      • ‘I am in love with her because she is her own woman, lives alone, loves it and wouldn't have it any other way.’
      • ‘Gregory accepts the volatile nature of the industry but intends to be his own man and is confident of making a success of the job.’
    • 2Be in full possession of one's faculties.

  • come into its (or one's) own

    • Become fully effective, used, or recognized.

      ‘the two folk languages will at last come into their own’
      • ‘Twentysomethings were defining their buying habits, coming into their own politically and were underserved creatively on television.’
      • ‘It also shows a band coming into their own in the studio.’
      • ‘He is coming into his own now after being with the club for the last three or four years.’
      • ‘The last few years of his life he was coming into his own as an artist, creating some amazing art pieces and gallery shows.’
      • ‘It's about a girl coming into her own and becoming a woman.’
      • ‘He more fully came into his own in the '60s as the work of younger artists created a new climate for radical abstraction.’
      • ‘Remember when VCRs were just coming into their own?’
      • ‘On the other hand, their carnival costumes offered increasing evidence that St Lucia's designers are finally coming into their own.’
      • ‘Flora fully came into her own after she was invited to join the Red Cross as a nurse and travel to Serbia in the First World War.’
      • ‘This is a confident songwriter coming into her own.’
  • hold one's own

    • Retain a position of strength in a challenging situation.

      ‘Britain has begun to hold its own in world markets’
      • ‘Having said that there are five strong personalities in the contest and I am confident that with good vote management we can still hold our own.’
      • ‘He hangs in against tough lefthanders, so he can hold his own in late-inning situations against specialists.’
      • ‘There is also the bonus that Scottish players are again beginning to hold their own in terms of quality.’
      • ‘Since he took up the sport he has always had to fight older children, but has managed to hold his own.’
      • ‘Smith has good upper-body strength and held his own against some of the tougher tackles in the division.’
      • ‘And I always like the challenge of trying to hold my own with a fellow competitor.’
      • ‘Singing with her mother, Reshma's daughter also managed to hold her own by singing solo too.’
      • ‘Troy had about forty pounds of almost pure muscle on her but despite his advantage of experience and strength Kari was holding her own.’
      • ‘If you become skilled, you'll hold your own in almost any situation.’
      • ‘For one so young, she manages to hold her own against the old pro with an alluring combination of confidence and vulnerability.’
      stand firm, stand one's ground, keep one's position, maintain one's position, keep one's end up, keep one's head above water, compete, survive, manage, cope, get through, get on, get along, get by
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  • of one's own

    • Belonging to oneself alone.

      ‘at last I've got a place of my own’
      • ‘The harder but surer way is to make a success of a business of your own and then sell it on to someone willing to pay millions.’
      • ‘Why not go into the garden today and see where you could introduce some eye-catchers of your own?’
      • ‘Even if you do not need to share it with others, you are justified in having one of your own.’
      • ‘Piccadilly pays its way and has given all these young people an independent life of their own.’
      • ‘You need to build up a life of your own for whatever the future may hold.’
      • ‘A house of your own and a booty of gold are up for grabs in a new television game show.’
      • ‘If you feel you are being bled dry by monthly rent then buying a home of your own may be the solution.’
      • ‘There is even a tattoo parlour out back just in case you get inspired and want a bit of flesh art of your own.’
      • ‘The result is an unashamed escape - guaranteed to lead you into dreams of your own.’
      • ‘I think it's a good idea to have a platform of your own on which you can do what you want.’
  • on one's own

    • Unaccompanied by others; alone or unaided.

      ‘she's not here now and I have to do things on my own’
      ‘these are exercises one can do on one's own’
      • ‘This Canadian joker couldn't tie his shoelaces on his own, let alone win a major title.’
      • ‘It's easy to think that we're on our own and thus should go it alone and do the best we can.’
      • ‘It was considered quite safe to travel on your own and come back alone even late at night.’
      • ‘As it is, the best advice is to dress in warm waterproofs, keep your eyes well peeled and see if you can handle it on your own.’
      • ‘But it's hard doing stuff on your own all the time and I just want Abby to be responsible.’
      • ‘The former nurse is believed to have been single and to have lived on her own.’
      • ‘Now is the time to stop claiming we can recover on our own and seek professional advice and support from an external partner.’
      • ‘If you really want to make a change, start something on your own, show how it should be done.’
      • ‘Rome is a city for lovers, not for single 36 year men with beards who are on their own.’
      • ‘Because, after all, our marriages and partnerships are far too important to manage on our own.’
      alone, all alone, in a solitary state, single, solitary, unaccompanied, companionless, partnerless, unattended, unescorted, unchaperoned, solo
      unaided, unassisted, without help, without assistance, by one's own efforts, under one's own steam, independently, standing on one's own two feet, off one's own bat, on one's own initiative
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Phrasal Verbs

  • own up

    • Admit to having done something wrong or embarrassing.

      ‘he owns up to few mistakes’
      • ‘That was to his credit, as many people did the opposite and people should be encouraged to own up for their wrong doings.’
      • ‘Both, understandably, want to talk about where they go from here, but they have to own up to what went wrong.’
      • ‘No one owns up to the fact of doing something wrong.’
      • ‘We men have almost as much trouble owning up to our emotions as we do admitting to fear.’
      • ‘Virtually everything these people said was wrong, but none of them has owned up to it.’
      • ‘He figured out what was wrong and owned up to his mistake.’
      • ‘If she owns up to her mistreatment, seems genuinely sorry and makes amends, you should have no problem setting the friendship back on track.’
      • ‘I was slightly disappointed at owning up, sometimes lying promises more fun.’
      • ‘No government owns up to state-facilitated assassinations’
      • ‘Men who learn of their affliction are sometimes embarrassed to own up to it.’
      admit to, admit guilt, plead guilty, accept blame, accept responsibility, make a clean breast of it, tell all
      spill the beans, get something off one's chest
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Old English āgen (adjective and pronoun) ‘owned, possessed’, past participle of āgan ‘owe’; the verb ( Old English āgnian ‘possess’, also ‘make own's own’) was originally from the adjective, later probably reintroduced from owner.