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!"
finders keepers(, losers weepers)
Prov. If you find something, you are entitled to keep it. (This is a children's rhyme and sounds childish when used by adults.) Bill: Hey! How come you're using my fountain pen? Fred: It's mine now. I found it on the floor—finders keepers, losers weepers. Child: That's my hat. You can't have it. Playmate: I found it. 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
If someone, especially a child, says finders keepers, they mean that they have a right to keep something they have found. My umbrella has not been returned. Obviously, someone picked it up and has made no effort to find the owner. Finders, keepers.
finders keepers (losers weepers)used, often humorously, to assert that whoever finds something by chance is entitled to keep it (and the person who lost it will just have to lament its loss). informal
This expression has been widely used since the early 19th century, although the idea goes back much further and is found in the work of the Roman dramatist Plautus. A variant sometimes heard is findings keepings .
ˌfinders ˈkeepers(saying) (often used by children) anyone who finds something has a right to keep it: I just found a pound coin on the ground. Finders keepers, so it’s mine!
Those who obtain something simply by discovering it are entitled to keep it. There are several versions of this expression, all of them referring to the law that a person who finds something, even if it is someone else’s property, may keep it for himself or herself. The earliest references are in writings of the Roman playwright Plautus and date from approximately 200 b.c. Two millennia later, D. M. Moir (Mansie Wauch, 1824) referred to “the auld Scotch proverb of ‘he that finds, keeps, and he that loses seeks.’” Charles Reade also called it a proverb: “Losers seekers, finders keepers” (It Is Never Too Late to Mend, 1856). The modern schoolyard version is “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Legal implications aside, the poetic rhythm of this expression no doubt helps account for its long life.
See also: keeper