Definition of own in English:

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Pronunciation: /ōn/

adjective& pronoun

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
More example sentences
  • The other five of the same colour is not a trump - it belongs to its own suit.
  • Given political independence, Scottish Tories would be free to set their own radical agenda.
  • We'd be interested to see whether our readers' views concur with our own so feel free to make use of the comment boxes.
1.1Done or produced by and for the person specified: [as adjective]: I used to design all my own clothes [as pronoun]: they claimed the work as their own
More example sentences
  • She has blasted celebrities who bring out their own clothes ranges.
  • As a child, Ismat was inspired by her mother, who used to make her own clothes.
  • Instead we consciously fashion our own adaptations, from clothes to cars to weapons.
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
More example sentences
  • The machine is programmed to each individual's own unique hand characteristics.
  • All the pubs on our route have their own individual atmosphere and characters.
  • You will soon realise each of these humorous birds has its own individual personality.
personal, individual, particular, private, personalized, unique


1 [with object] Have (something) as one’s own; possess: his father owns a restaurant [as adjective, in combination]: (-owned) state-owned property
More example sentences
  • You never nurse the slightest notion of ever owning those clothes.
  • His parents live in Kolkata; his father owns a portrait photo studio and his mother is a floral stylist.
  • Her father, who owns a bank, is reputed to be the wealthiest man in Spain.
be the owner of, possess, be the possessor of, have in one's possession, have (to one's name)
2 [no object] formal 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
More example sentences
  • Hume was quite well aware that Berkeley would not have owned to being a sceptic.
  • A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong,
admit, concede, grant, accept, acknowledge, agree, confess
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
More example sentences
  • Just because you're scared of something now doesn't mean you won't own your fear in days to come.
  • Own your anger by expressing it with "I" statements: "I really get mad when you leave dirty dishes in the sink."
2.2 [with object] archaic Acknowledge paternity, authorship, or possession of: he has published little, trivial things which he will not own
3 [with object] US informal Utterly defeat (an opponent or rival); completely get the better of: yeah right, she totally owned you, man
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • If he walks up like he owns the place, he's probably going to treat women like property.

be one's own man (or woman)

Act independently and with confidence.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
archaic2.1 Be in full possession of one’s faculties.

come into its (or one's) own

Become fully effective, used, or recognized: Mexico will come into its own as a vacation spot
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He more fully came into his own in the '60s as the work of younger artists created a new climate for radical abstraction.
  • Twentysomethings were defining their buying habits, coming into their own politically and were underserved creatively on television.

get one's own back

informal Take action in retaliation for a wrongdoing or insult.
Example sentences
  • My one regret is that he retired from the game before I had a chance to get my own back.
  • But if her husband David gives her a hard time at work, then the mother-of-two gets her own back when they get home.

hold one's own

Retain a position of strength in a challenging situation: I can hold my own in a fight
More example sentences
  • And I always like the challenge of trying to hold my own with a fellow competitor.
  • 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.
stand firm, stand one's ground, keep one's end up, keep one's head above water, compete, survive, cope, get on/along

of one's own

Belonging to oneself alone: at last I’ve got a place of my own
More example sentences
  • You need to build up a life of your own for whatever the future may hold.
  • 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.

on one's own

Unaccompanied by others; alone or unaided: I have to do things on my own
More example sentences
  • It was considered quite safe to travel on your own and come back alone even late at night.
  • This Canadian joker couldn't tie his shoelaces on his own, let alone win a major title.
  • Rome is a city for lovers, not for single 36 year men with beards who are on their own.
(all) alone, (all) by oneself, solitary, unaccompanied, companionless
informal by one's lonesome
unaided, unassisted, without help, without assistance, (all) by oneself, independently

Phrasal verbs

own up

Admit or confess to having done something wrong or embarrassing: he owns up to few mistakes
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He figured out what was wrong and owned up to his mistake.


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.

Words that rhyme with own

alone, atone, Beaune, bemoan, blown, bone, Capone, clone, Cohn, Cologne, condone, cone, co-own, crone, drone, enthrone, flown, foreknown, foreshown, groan, grown, half-tone, home-grown, hone, Joan, known, leone, loan, lone, mephedrone, moan, Mon, mown, ochone, outflown, outgrown, phone, pone, prone, Rhône, roan, rone, sewn, shown, Simone, Sloane, Soane, sone, sown, stone, strown, throne, thrown, tone, trombone, Tyrone, unbeknown, undersown, windblown, zone

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: own

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