or pre-owned

[ pree-ohnd ]


  1. previously owned; used; secondhand:

    a sale of preowned furs.


/ ˌpriːˈəʊnd /


  1. euphemistic.
    already used; second-hand
“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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of preowned1

First recorded in 1960–65; pre- + own + -ed 2
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Example Sentences

Since ATF traces only to the first retail sale, it can’t see if someone bought a preowned gun at a pawnshop and then used it in a crime the next day, for example.


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More About Preowned

What does preowned mean?

Preowned refers to something that has been previously owned by someone else or has already had at least one previous owner.

Preowned is sometimes spelled pre-owned. 

Preowned is a euphemism, which is a milder way to say something to make it less harsh or blunt. Preowned is typically used to describe something for sale to avoid calling it used or secondhand. A nicer way to say something was owned previously is to call it preloved.

Example: I couldn’t afford a new car so I bought a preowned one.

Where does preowned come from?

The first records of  preowned come from the 1930s. It combines the prefix pre-, which means “before,” with the past tense of the verb own, meaning to possess or have legal control over.

Some stores and businesses sell both new items and used items. A preowned item has already belonged to someone or multiple someones.

Because most stores sell products straight from the manufacturer, a store will typically use signs or labels to make it clear an item has already had a previous owner. Something that is preowned has been used already so it may be more likely to break or wear out due to previous use.

For this reason, many stores or sellers will usually sell preowned items at a lower price to encourage people to buy them. Some stores only sell preowned products, such as thrift stores (from donations), used book stores (usually from people selling their old books), and used car dealerships (from people selling their cars).

Preowned is most often used in sales advertisements or listings. Businesses are usually required to alert a customer that an item is preowned to avoid committing sales fraud.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for preowned?

What are some words that share a root or word element with preowned

What are some words that often get used in discussing preowned?

What are some words preowned may be commonly confused with?

How is preowned used in real life?

Preowned is commonly used when people talk about buying or selling used goods.



Try using preowned!

True or False?

A preowned refrigerator has already been owned and used by someone.