of, relating to, or belonging to oneself or itself (usually used after a possessive to emphasize the idea of ownership, interest, or relation conveyed by the possessive): He spent only his own money.
(used as an intensifier to indicate oneself as the sole agent of some activity or action, preceded by a possessive): He insists on being his own doctor.

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to confess (often followed by to, up, or up to): The one who did it had better own up. I own to being uncertain about that.


    come into one's own,
    1. to take possession of that which is due or owed one.
    2. to receive the recognition that one's abilities merit: She finally came into her own as a sculptor of the first magnitude.
    get one's own back, to get revenge and thereby a sense of personal satisfaction, as for a slight or a previous setback; get even with somebody or something: He saw the award as a way of getting his own back for all the snubs by his colleagues.
    hold one's own,
    1. to maintain one's position or condition: The stock market seems to be holding its own these days.
    2. to be equal to the opposition: He can hold his own in any fight.
    of one's own, belonging to oneself: She had never had a room of her own.
    on one's own,
    1. by dint of one's own efforts, resources, or sense of responsibility; independently: Because she spoke the language, she got around the country very well on her own.
    2. living or functioning without dependence on others; independent: My son's been on his own for several years.

Origin of own

before 900; (adj.) Middle English owen, Old English āgen (cognate with German eigen, Old Norse eigenn), orig. past participle of āgan to possess (see owe); (v.) Middle English ownen, Old English āgnian, āhnian, derivative of āgen
Related formsnon·own·ing, adjectiveun·owned, adjective

Synonyms for own

3. See have.

Antonyms for own

3. lack, need.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for owned

purchased, kept, held, inherited, retained, bought, had, enjoyed

Examples from the Web for owned

Contemporary Examples of owned

Historical Examples of owned

  • He now owned a great deal of water-front, twice as much as before.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • It was the most expensive piece of jewelry Grace had ever owned.

  • And now even she herself hardly realized that she had ever owned to any other call.

  • For now the few classic books they owned, so cold and dry, existed no longer.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • The MacDermotts have owned this shop a powerful while, as your ma tells you many's a time.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for owned


determiner (preceded by a possessive)

  1. (intensifier)John's own idea; your own mother
  2. (as pronoun)I'll use my own
on behalf of oneself or in relation to oneselfhe is his own worst enemy
come into one's own
  1. to become fulfilledshe really came into her own when she got divorced
  2. to receive what is due to one
get one's own back informal to have revenge
hold one's own to maintain one's situation or position, esp in spite of opposition or difficulty
on one's own
  1. without help
  2. by oneself; alone


(tr) to have as one's possession
(when intr, often foll by up, to, or up to) to confess or admit; acknowledge
(tr; takes a clause as object) rare to concedeI own that you are right

Word Origin for own

Old English āgen, originally past participle of āgan to have; related to Old Saxon ēgan, Old Norse eiginn. See owe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for owned

"possessed," 1620s, past participle adjective from own (v.).



Old English agen "one's own," literally "possessed by," from Proto-Germanic *aigana- "possessed, owned" (cf. Old Saxon egan, Old Frisian egin, Old Norse eiginn, Dutch eigen, German eigen "own"), from past participle of PIE *aik- "to be master of, possess," source of Old English agan "to have" (see owe).



evolved in early Middle English from Old English geagnian, from root agan "to have, to own" (see owe), and in part from the adjective own (q.v.). It became obsolete after c.1300, but was revived early 17c., in part as a back-formation of owner (mid-14c.), which continued. Related: Owned; owning. To own up "make full confession" is from 1853.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with owned


In addition to the idioms beginning with own

  • own medicine
  • own person, be one's
  • own up

also see:

  • afraid of one's own shadow
  • after one's own heart
  • beat someone at his or her own game
  • blow one's own horn
  • call one's own
  • close to home
  • come into (one's own)
  • dig one's own grave
  • do one's (own) thing
  • dose of one's own medicine
  • get (one's own) back
  • get one's (own) way
  • go one's (own) way
  • hold one's own
  • in one's (own) interest
  • in one's own backyard
  • in one's own right
  • in one's own world
  • keep one's own counsel
  • know one's own mind
  • leave to someone's own devices
  • mind of one's own
  • mind one's own business
  • of one's own accord
  • on one's (own) feet
  • on one's own
  • on one's own account
  • on one's own time
  • paddle one's own canoe
  • pay back in one's own coin
  • pay one's (own) way
  • pick on (someone your own size)
  • pull one's (own) weight
  • sign one's own death warrant
  • stew in one's own juice
  • take into one's (own) hands
  • under one's own steam
  • write one's own ticket
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.