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call one's own

Claim or regard something as one's possession or under one's control, as in Victorian wives had almost nothing to call their own. This expression, dating from about 1600, today is often used in a negative context, as in the example. It also appears in can't call one's time one's own, which dates from the 18th century and means one spends much of one's time in someone else's service, as in The hours in this job are terrible; I can't call my time my own.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.