Literal Meaning


Explanation & Origin

Origin – The word “dominium” is derived from the Latin word “dominus” meaning “lord.” Dominium is the Roman term for the rights of an owner against the entire world. 

Explanation – Dominium means absolute ownership. It includes the right to possession and use.  The owner is also entitled with the right to retain the property or transfer the property at his/her pleasure. Dominium was subject to charges or servitudes and planning restrictions. Over the years, dominium came to mean mere ownership of property. Dominium can be divided into three types. They are: 1) Directum dominium, or usufructuary dominionas between landlord and tenant; 2) Dominium is to full property or simple property. The former is when it belongs to the cultivator of his own estate, the other is when it is the property of the tenant; 3) Dominium acquired by law of nations and dominium acquired by municipal law. By the law of nations, property may be acquired by occupation, by accession, by use or the pernancy of the usufruct and by tradition or delivery.

Nudum dominium (naked title) is property ownership of title alone, who someone else has dominium over all the practical rights enabling them to hold and make use of the thing.


Under the concept of full private absolute ownership, or absolutumetdirectum dominium, a plot of land could be established as the exclusive private property of a family patriarch.

In criminal law, in connection with burglary, “ownership” means any possession which is rightful as against the burglar[1].

Case Reference

In the case of Thompson v. Kreutzer[2], it was held that dominium is the exclusive right of possession, enjoyment and disposal. In the case of Hardinge v. Empire Zinc Co.[3], it was stated that dominium is involving as an essential attribute the right to control, handle and dispose. However in the case of State v. Harrison[4], it was held synonymous with occupancy[5].

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1]Seaba v. State, 33 Okl. Cr. 59, 242 P. 779, 780

[2]112 Miss. 165, 72 So. 891

[3] 17 Ariz. 75, 148 P. 306, 310

[4]Mo.Sup., 285 S.W. 83, 87

[5]Carneal v. State, 86 Tex.Cr.R. 274, 216 S.W. 626

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