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Tuesday, November 20, 2012


            The word property comes from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French’s propriete, or from Latin’s proprietas, which can be defined as “one’s own”. It is also related to the Middle French word propreté, which means decent dress, manners, and neatness. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is a thing, or things belonging to someone. But it can also define people as ties to a particular thing. Humans have even been dubbed this term as ties to land, or to another person. Slaves were reduced to the lowest class of human status and treated as a part of land or an object. An example of this would be the serfs in the Middle Ages, who served under the lords of the region, or African slavery in the Americas. The serf’s rights were limited and they’re entire life revolved around the work of the land, as if they were only but an extension of the property.

Now the most popular usage of the term property seems to define the ownership of land or personal possessions. Originally it only refers to a landed estate, but the word has evolved to include the ownership of any residential, or commercial land. But ownership doesn’t necessarily have to refer to land. A personal possession of an individual is also considered property. It is a type of possession that is often more personal to the individual. Where other objects might have monetary value, these personal objects have sentimental value. They have the ability to store important memories that upon a mere glance, an individual can recollect and relive the feelings and experiences of that particular moment.

Property can also give ties to the rights of production and use of certain logos. In the commercial business, from publications of literary work to the production of mp3 players, brand names on products display the ownership and rights of companies. Those without the rights of the company cannot manufacture any of their products, or use their name on products, as it is not of their property.

Another definition of property is that it represents a quality, attribute, or characteristic of a thing. The property of a particular item can relay a variety of information. It can tell us the chemical properties, and composition of a particular thing. It can also be used to express a quality of being proper or appropriate. It comments how fitting and suitable you are, and how you carry yourself in conversation with the proper choice, and use of words.

While property is a reflection of success in American society, it takes away from the mobility, and freedom most individuals desire to experience. The desire to travel or relocate is overcome by the fact that as we accumulate more and more property, these things tend to chain us down to a particular lifestyle.

1) Oxford English Dictionary. "property," http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/152674?rskey=MpghIl&result=1&isAdvanced=false#eid. (Added to OED in 1382)

2) The Middle Ages Website. "serfs," http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/serfs.htm

3) Harper, Douglas. "property," http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=property&allowed_in_frame=0

4)  " private property in communism," http://zeropointfield.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/private-property-in-communism/ (Last altered March 27,2010)

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