possession

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in (one's) possession

Owned, held by, or under the custody of someone. With her father's inheritance in her possession, Samantha intends to start her own business. The detective wanted to know how long the victim's diary had been in the suspect's possession. Are you on your way to get it, or is literally already in your possession?
See also: possession

possession is nine parts of the law

Actually possessing or having custody of something represents a strong legal claim to it (more so than simply claiming ownership). She's arguing that the antique stopwatch rightfully belongs to her, but possession is nine parts of the law.
See also: law, nine, of, part, possession

possession is nine points of the law

proverb Actually possessing or having custody of something represents a strong legal claim to it (more so than simply claiming ownership). She's arguing that the antique stopwatch rightfully belongs to her, but possession is nine points of the law.
See also: law, nine, of, point, possession

possession is nine-tenths of the law

proverb Actually possessing or having custody of something represents a strong legal claim to it (more so than simply claiming ownership). She's arguing that the antique stopwatch rightfully belongs to her, but possession is nine-tenths of the law.
See also: law, of, possession

take possession (of something)

To gain or assume ownership or custody of something. She took possession of the house following the court's ruling that she was the legal inheritor of the estate. The bank took possession of my car after I was unable to keep up my monthly repayments.
See also: possession, take
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*in someone's possession

held by someone; owned by someone. (*Typically: be ~; come [into] ~.) The book is now in my possession. How long has this object been in your possession?
See also: possession

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Prov. If you actually possess something, you have a stronger legal claim to owning it than someone who merely says it belongs to him or her. Dana may say he owns this house, but we actually live in it, and possession is nine-tenths of the law.
See also: law, of, possession

take possession (of something)

to assume ownership of something. I am to take possession of the house as soon as we sign the papers.
See also: possession, take
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

possession is nine points of the law

Actually holding something is better than merely claiming it. For example, When Karen told John he must return the sofa he'd borrowed, he said possession is nine points of the law . This term originally alluded to nine elements that would aid someone's lawsuit, among them a good lawyer, good witnesses, a good jury, a good judge, and good luck. In time, however, the term was used more for squatter's rights. [Late 1500s]
See also: law, nine, of, point, possession
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

possession is nine points/tenths/parts of the ˈlaw

(saying) if you already have or control something, it is difficult for somebody else to take it away from you, even if they have the legal right to it
See also: law, nine, of, part, point, possession, tenth

take posˈsession (of something)

(formal) become the owner of something: He couldn’t pay his taxes, so the government took possession of his property.
See also: possession, take
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

possession is nine points of the law

To hold or control something gives one a greater advantage than simply claiming ownership or control. This term dates from the late sixteenth century. An early appearance in print was in T. Draxe’s Bibliotheca Scholastica (1616): “Possession is nine points in the Law.” Later references sometimes put it at eleven points, but nine is what has survived. The nine points in question are: (1) a good purse (much money); (2) a good deal of patience; (3) a good cause; (4) a good lawyer; (5) good counsel; (6) good witnesses; (7) a good jury; (8) a good judge; and (9) good luck. With these advantages one is apt to win one’s case. Today, however, the term is used more in the sense of squatter’s rights—that is, “I have it; just try and take it away from me”—than in any strict legal sense.
See also: law, nine, of, point, possession
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

possession is nine-tenths of the law

Custody presumes ownership. The basis of this legal maxim that comes down from the 17th-century is the commonsense observation that if you have control of something, chances are better than average that it's yours. Lawyers term it a rebuttable presumption: ownership is recognized unless disproved by someone holding a more valid claim. The phrase started life as “possession is nine points of the law,” which referred to possession's satisfying nine out of eleven factors that constituted absolute ownership. However, “nine-tenths” entered popular usage to reflect the idea that custody is 90 percent of legal ownership.
See also: law, of, possession
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
84) If Tess here suffers the uneasiness of a woman who senses herself the future object of a possessional claim grounded in the superimposition of surplus value--a young woman, like virgin land, may be "developed" by a shrewd speculator--then her next encounter with Alec gives her little cause to relax.
The Scots enjoyed both territorial and possessional advantage for the remainder of the half but all they could earn for their efforts was a penalty from close range by Barry Irving.
These words presumably represented a possessional term (MY), a negative term (NO), and a neutral term (AT).
Rules of contract, bankruptcy, and credit address transactional insecurity, while rules of property address possessional insecurity.
Till that first goal from Toure, the match had very little significance with both teams content with possessional play.
I don't know if there's a name for this brand of stupendously stupid fretting, though if they asked me to coin one, I'd probably call it something like possessional transference obliteration anxiety, or diurnal bi-pedicular disorder.