finders, keepers

finders keepers

If someone finds something, they are entitled to keep it (even if it belongs to someone else). This phrase is part of the children's rhyme "finders keepers, losers weepers." Jake yelled "finders keepers" as he dashed toward the house with the sparkling ring he had discovered. A: "Hey, that's my favorite toy!" B: "But I found it out on the playground. Finders keepers, losers weepers!"
See also: finder, keeper

finders, keepers

A phrase meaning that whoever finds something is entitled to keep it. For example, Someone left a dollar bill in this rented car-finders, keepers. This expression alludes to an ancient Roman law to that effect and has been stated in numerous different ways over the centuries. The modern version, often stated as Finders keepers, losers weepers, dates from the mid-1800s and is no longer a legal precept.
See also: keeper
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: ROSAMOND PURCELL Jar of piranha from Brazil, prepared by William James for louis Agassiz Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology From Finders, Keepers, 1993
Ross said: "I decided to leave the bottle, because it's finders, keepers.