Definition for PROP'ER-TY

PROP'ER-TY, n. [This seems to be formed directly from proper; if not, it is contracted. The Latin is proprietas, Fr. proprieté, from which we have propriety.]

  1. A peculiar quality of any thing; that which is inherent in a subject, or naturally essential to it; called by logicians an essential mode. Thus color is a property of light; extension and figure are properties of bodies.
  2. An acquired or artificial quality; that which is given by art or bestowed by man. The poem has the properties which constitute excellence.
  3. Quality; disposition. It is the property of on old sinner to find delight in reviewing his own villainies in others. – South.
  4. The exclusive right of possessing, enjoying and disposing of a thing; ownership. In the beginning of the world, the Creator gave to man dominion over the earth, over the fish of the sea and the fowls of the air, and over every living thing. This is the foundation of man's property in the earth and in all its productions. Prior occupancy of land and of wild animals gives to the possessor the property of them. The labor of inventing, making or producing any thing constitutes one of the highest and most indefeasible titles to property. Property is also acquired by inheritance, by gift or by purchase. Property is sometimes held in common, yet each man's right to his share in common land or stock is exclusively his own. One man may have the property of the soil, and another the right of use, by prescription or by purchase.
  5. Possession held in one's own right. – Dryden.
  6. The thing owned; that to which a person has the legal title, whether in his possession or not. It is one of the greatest blessings of civil society that the property of citizens is well secured.
  7. An estate, whether in lands, goods or money; as, a man of large property or small property.
  8. An estate; a farm; a plantation. In this sense, which is common in the United States and in the West Indies, the word has a plural. The still-houses on the sugar plantations, vary in size, according to the fancy of the proprietor or the magnitude of the property. – Edwards' W. Indies. I shall confine myself to such properties as fall within the reach of daily observation. – Ib.
  9. Nearness or right. Here I disclaim all my paternal care, / Propinquity and property of blood. – Shak.
  10. Something useful; an appendage; a theatrical term. I will draw a bill of properties. – Shak. High pomp and state are useful properties. – Dryden.
  11. Propriety. [Not in use.] – Camden. Literary property, the exclusive right of printing, publishing and making profit by one's own writings. No right or title to a thing can be so perfect as that which is created by a man's own labor and invention. The exclusive right of a man to his literary productions, and to the use of them for his own profit, is entire and perfect, as the faculties employed and labor bestowed are entirely and perfectly his own. On what principle then can a legislature or a court determine that an author can enjoy only a temporary property in his own productions? If a man's right to his own productions in writing is as perfect as to the productions of his farm or his shop, how can the former be abridged or limited, while the latter is held without limitation? Why do the productions of manual labor rank higher in the scale of rights or property, than the productions of the intellect?

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