June 04, 2016
- own (verb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 a : to have or hold as property : possess b : to have power or control over2 : to admit that something is true : confess
- How do you use it?
- "‘Well, you just own up, first, that you DID hide that money there, intending to give me the slip one of these days, and come back and dig it up, and have it all to yourself.'" (Mark Twain, _The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn_)
- Are you a word wiz?
Today we're focusing on the sense of "own" that means to admit that something is true. Which of these words do you think means about the same thing as this sense of "own"?"Own," "acknowledge," "admit," and "confess" mean to make public something one would rather keep private. "Acknowledge" suggests revealing something that has been or might be concealed, as in "A spokesman acknowledged that the company had been polluting the lake." "Admit" stresses a demand to reveal and an unwillingness to do so, as in "He won't admit that he made a mistake." "Own" suggests acknowledging something of a personal nature, as in "I own that I can be rude sometimes." "Confess" suggests an admission of weakness, failure, or guilt, as in "She confessed involvement in the scam."