Legal Definition and Related Resources of Title

Meaning of Title

A name by which anything is known. An appellation of honor or dignity . A right , particularly the right of ownership of property . In relation to property, while the primary meaning of the term title is that of a right of ownership, in a secondary sense it may include such rights as right of possession . With reference to land, title may be absolute , that is, unconditional, subject only to encumbrances and any trust that may be attached to the title; or qualified, that is, subject to reservations specified. May also be a possessory title , that is, an original title not derived from anyone else such as by conveyance , gift, descent but by the fact of the title holder having acquired the same by adverse possession . Title to land is said to be good and marketable when it is free from encumbrances, present or probable litigation , and is free from reasonable doubt in law and in fact and the legal and beneficial estate in the property will become vested in the purchaser . See also marketable title .

Title Alternative Definition

The means whereby the owner of lands hath the just possession of his property. Co. Litt. 345; 2 Bl. Comm. 195. See 1 Ohio, 349. This is the definition of title to lands only.
(1) A bad title is one which conveys no property to the purchaser of an estate.
(2) A doubtful title is one which the court does not consider to be so clear that it will enforce its acceptance by a purchaser, nor so defective as to declare it a bad title, but only subject to so much doubt that a purchaser ought not to be compelled to accept it. 1 Jac. & W. 568; 9 Cow. (N. Y.) 344.
(3) A good title is that which entitles a man by right to a property or estate, and to the lawful possession of the same.
(4) A marketable title is one which a court of equity considers to be so clear that it will enforce its acceptance by a purchaser. The doctrine of marketable titles is purely equitable and of modern origin. Atkins, Titles, 26. At law every title not bad is marketable. 5 Taunt. 625; 6 Taunt. 263; 1 Marsh. 258. See 2 Pa. Law J. 17. There are several stages or degrees requisite to form a complete title to lands and tenements. The lowest and most imperfect degree of title is the mere possession, or actual occupation bf the estate, wi&otit any apparent right to hold or continue such possession. This happenB when one man disseises another. The next step to a good and perfect title is the right of posseBslon, which may reside in one man while the actual possession is not in himself, but in another. This right of possession is of two sorts, an apparent right of possession, which may be defeated by proving a better, and an actual right of possession, which will stand the test against all opponents. The mere right of property, the jus proprietatis, without either possession or the right of possession. 2 Bl. Comm. 195. Title to real estate is acquired by descent, by purchase, and by adverse possession. Title to personal property may accrue in three different ways, by original acquisition, by transfer by act of law, by transfer by act of the parties. Title by original acquisition is acquired by occupancy (see “Occupancy”) ; by accession (see “Accession”) ; by intellectual labor (see “Literary Property”). The title to personal property is acquired and lost by transfer by act of law, in various ways, by forfeiture, succession, marriage, judgment, insolvency, intestacy (q.v.) Title is acquired and lost by transfer by the act of the party by gift, by contract, or sale. In Legislation. That part of an act of the legislature by which it is known and distinguished from other acts; the name of the act. In Literature. The particular division of a subject, as a law, a book, and the like; for example. Digest, book 1, title 2. The name of a newspaper, book, etc. Personal Relations. A distinctive appellation denoting the rank to which the individual belongs in society. The constitution of the United States forbids the grant by the United States or any state of any title of nobility. Titles are bestowed by courtesy on certain officers. The president of the United States sometimes receives the title of “Excellency;” judges and members of congress, that of “Honorable;” and members of the bar and justices of the peace are called “Esquires.” Coeper, Just. Inst. 416; Brackenridge, Law Misc. Titles are assumed by foreign princes, and among their subjects they may exact these marks of honor; but in their intercourse with foreign nations they are not entitled to them as a matter of right. Wheaton, Int. Law, pt. 2, c. 3, I 6. In Pleading. The right of action which the plaintif is has. The declaration must show the plaintiff’s title, and if such title be not shown in that instrument, the defect cannot be cured by any of the future pleadings. Bac Ahr. “Pleas, etc.” (B 1). In Praotioe.. That part of a pleading or other papw in a cause that states the names of the partteis plaintlflP and deffendant thereto.

Synonyms of Title

(Designation), noun

  • appellation
  • caption
  • denomination
  • heading
  • inscription
  • label
  • name
  • rubric
  • sign
  • signification
  • superscription
  • tag
  • Associated Concepts: title of statute

(Division), noun

  • article
  • branch
  • chapter
  • clause
  • item
  • paragraph
  • part
  • portion
  • provision
  • section
  • statement
  • term

(Position), noun

  • employment
  • office
  • post
  • rank
  • situation
  • station
  • status

(Right), noun

  • authority
  • authorization
  • claim
  • deed
  • domain
  • droit
  • entitlement
  • equity
  • interest
  • legal title
  • ownership
  • permission
  • possession
  • power
  • prerogative
  • prescription
  • proprietorship
  • right
  • sanction
  • stake
  • tenure
  • vested interest
  • Associated Concepts: absolute title
  • abstract of title
  • acquisition of title
  • apparent title
  • chain of title
  • claim of title
  • clear title
  • cloud on title
  • color of title
  • defeasible title
  • disparagement of title
  • documents of title
  • equitable title
  • failure of title
  • good title
  • imperfect title
  • marketable title
  • merchantable title
  • nominal title
  • paramount title
  • perfection of title
  • prima facie title
  • quieting title
  • reservation of title
  • superior title
  • title by adverse possession
  • title by deeds
  • title by prescription
  • title insurance
  • title search
  • title to property
  • unmarketable title
  • warranty of title
  • worthier title foreign phrases: Praescriptio est titulus ex usu et tempore substantiam capiens ab auctoritate legis
  • Prescription is a title by authority of law
  • deriving its force from use and time
  • A piratis et latronibus capta dominum non mutant
  • Things captured by pirates and robbers do not change title

Related Entries of Title in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Title in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Title in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Title in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Title in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Abandonment, Abstract Of Title, Acceptance, Acquire, Adverse Possession, Against Interest, Alienate, Anti-Trust Acts, Assistance, Writ Of, , Bailee, Bargain And Sale, Beneficial Interest, Bill Of Lading, Bill Of Sale, Bona Fide, , C.i.f., Caution, Chain Of Title, Clear Title, Cloud On Title, Co-operative, Co-operative Apartment:, Color Of Authority, Color Of Title, Commission, Community Claim, Concealers, Condition, Conditional Sale, Consent-rule, Constructive Trust, Convey, Conveyance, Debenture, Demise, Descent, Dignity, Disclaim, Disclaimer, Discrimination, Doubtful Title, Dummy, Ejectment, Enjoy, Entitle, Equitable Assignment, Equitable Conversion, Equitable Estate, Estate By Entirety, Estoppel, Eviction, Facts In Controversy, Federal Offenses, , Free And Clear, General Assignment, , Grant, Holder, Holder In Due Course, Homage Ancestral, Imperfect Mortgage, Imperfect Title, Indian Tribe, Indorsement, Innocent Purchaser, Interest, Jacitation, Joint Tenancy, Legal Title, Letters Of Administration, Liability, , Life Insurance, , Lost Grant, Marketable Title, Merchantable Title, Merger, Mineral Estate, Mining Claim, Monopoly, Mortgage, Muniments, Negotiable Instrument, Obsolescence, Owner, Parcel, Parcenary, Partition, Passive Trust, Petition, Possession, Possessory Title, Presumption Of Survivorship, Pretenced Right Or Title, Primate, Protectorate, Puisne, Purchase, Quasi Realty, Quit Claim, Ratification, Real Action, Receiver, Redemption, Reliction, Relinquish, Reservation, Resulting Trust, Revendication, , Sale On Condition, Seisin, , Separate Property, Sex Discrimination, Situs, Slander Of Title, Special Act, Special Warranty Deed, Tacking, Tenancy By The Entirety, Tenant, Tenant At Sufferance, Tenant For Life, Torrens’ System, Transfer, Trover, Trust For Sale, Trust Receipt.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Title in the Dictionary Title in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Title
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Title in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Title is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies
https://legaldictionary.lawin.org/title/ The URI of Title (more about URIs)

Title in the Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims

French tille: Latin titulus, superscription; bill, placard, notice. The means whereby the owner of land has the just possession of his property. 2 Bl. Com. 195. He who has possession, the right of possession, and the right of property has a perfect title. Shelton v. Alcox, 11 Conn. 249 (1836), Williams, C.J.; 2 Bl. Com. 195; 1 Kent, 177-78; 4 Kent, 373-74. A person may have a title to property although he is not the absolute owner. If he has the actual or constructive possession, or the right of possession, he has a title. Roberts v. Wentworth, 5 Cush. 193 (1849).

Note: This legal definition of Title in the Dictionary of Law (English and American Jurisprudence) is from 1893.

Title in the One-L Dictionary

In reference to a code (such as the United States Code), the word title refers to the broad subject heading under which a law is classified. For example, the United States Code is organized into fifty titles, each title pertaining to a particular subject. 18 U.S.C. _ 925A (2000) (a provision added to the U.S. Code as part of the Brady Act) is the citation for section 925A of Title 18 (Crimes and Criminal Procedure). In reference to an act, (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), the word title refers to a large portion or subset of the act. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is codified in Title 42 of the United States Code. But here, Title VII refers to a portion of the public law that appears below the Roman numeral seven in the Act’s original Statutes at Large version.

Note: This Title definition in the One-L Dictionary for new law students is from Harvard Law School (HLS).


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Title

(You may find title at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

c. 1300, “inscription, heading,” from Old French title “title or chapter of a book; position; legal permit” (12c., Modern French titre, by dissimilation), and in part from Old English titul, both from Latin titulus “inscription, label,
ticket, placard, heading; honorable appellation, title of honor,” of unknown origin. Meaning “name of a book, play, etc.” first recorded mid-14c. The sense of “name showing a person’s rank” in English is first attested 1580s. Sports championship sense attested from 1913 (originally in lawn tennis), hence titlist (1913).


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Title Insurance; Title Search.
  • Title in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of title.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading

    Title Definition (in the Accounting Vocabulary)

    The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants offers the following definition of Title in a way that is easy for anybody to understand: The written evidence, such as a deed, that proves legal right of possession or control.

    Meaning of Title in the U.S. Legal System

    Definition of Title published by the National Association for Court Management: Legal ownership of property, usually real property or automobiles.

    Concept of Title in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Title: The evidence one has of right to possession of land.

    Concept of Title in the context of Real Property

    A short definition of Title: The evidence one has of right to possession of land.







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