Hidden Meanings in Legal Spanish - 9

January 17, 2015

Propiedad

 

Propiedad looks very much like the English word "property," which is usually the first term that comes to mind when a native English speaker sees it. It is important to note, however, that the most common word for "property" in Spanish is bienes (not propiedad). Bienes inmuebles are real property (or realty) and bienes muebles are personal property (or personalty).  

 

What propiedad usually means is "ownership." As such it is a synonym of titularidad and dominio, both of which also mean "ownership." So la propiedad de las acciones means "the ownership of the shares" (not "the property of shares"--which doesn't make any sense anyway).

 

Propiedad also has a nonlegal meaning: in some contexts, it means "propriety" or "decorum." So se comporta con propiedad means "he behaves properly" or "with decorum."

 

Finally, there are some areas of law where propiedad is the standard term for property: propiedad intelectual is "intellectual property" in English.

 

 

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