finders keepers

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finders keepers(, losers weepers)

A children's rhyme meaning that if someone finds something, they are entitled to keep it (even if it belongs to someone else). 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, loser
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: finder, keeper
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

finders keepers

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.
See also: finder, keeper
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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 .
See also: finder, keeper
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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!
See also: finder, keeper
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

finders, keepers

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Finders Keepers had two more cracks at chart stardom.
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So rather than finders keepers, losers weepers, finders may become keepers if they try to find the owner.
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Maritime law says "finders keepers", but haunted house law also applies to haunted ships.
The startled youngsters wondered what they should do, and were momentarily tempted to let the "finders keepers, losers weepers" axiom prevail.
"Finders keepers! Basically no different if found lying on the ground or in some toilet etc," adds another.
Finders Keepers came tantalisingly close to gaining Allen his first chart success - and the five-piece were certainly kept busy by their boss.
Is the proper response "Finders keepers, losers weepers," as Joseph tries to tell Devon?
But while many may think the rule of "finders keepers" may apply the law states that anyone finding treasure must report it to their local coroner within 14 days or face prosecution.
BOOK OF THE WEEK Finders Keepers by Stephen King Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Price: Hardback PS20 (ebook PS7.47) WITH more than 50 novels under his belt, it's admirable that King still writes his own books, unlike some big authors whose names have been turned into brands.
Finders Keepers is its sequel, although with new characters setting up a new plot.