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squatter's right

noun Law Informal.
  1. a claim to real property, especially public land, that may be granted to a person who has openly possessed and continuously occupied it without legal authority for a prescribed period of years.
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Origin of squatter's right

An Americanism dating back to 1855–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018