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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.
See also: possession

possession is nine-tenths of the law

Having the actual ownership or custody of something is legally stronger than simply claiming it belongs to you. 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

*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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Kagura rituals, particularly in their folk incarnations (as opposed to those dances performed for royalty), involved possessional dances, performed by Shinto shamans of both sexes with the aid of hand-held objects, or torimono.
But in the second half, it was their defence - which has been so effective all year - that came to the fore, restricting Warrington to just two tries, despite the home side having such a strong possessional and territorial advantage.
The ex-Orient man was faultless throughout from crosses and also showed his possessional sense when grasping Mark Hynes' 10-yard volley but he was only a spectator when the ever lively Simon Wormull unleashed a rising cross shot which grazed the bar.