Context: Druken Ghost Therapist taking to 3 Caspers about the House Owner.

I'm gonna tell that lady you ain't going anywhere.It's your house. You're haunting it. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

I know It is the expression in English, But I what clear explanation on this expression.

  • It means it is legally much harder to take something away from someone who possesses it and does not relinquish it than from someone who is not in possession of it. Sometimes also given as "Possession is nine points of the law." The ghost in your example "owns" the house by virtue of haunting it.
    – Robusto
    Jun 1, 2017 at 1:23
  • majority won't allow her to take the house? Am I right ?
    – The Hawk
    Jun 1, 2017 at 1:24
  • No. Majority has nothing to do with it.
    – Robusto
    Jun 1, 2017 at 1:28
  • Also, are you confused about the expression as it was used in the movie (which is a play on words) or about the expression in normal usage?
    – PMV
    Jun 1, 2017 at 4:17

1 Answer 1


The expression

(possession is) nine-tenths of the law

means most of law is based on ownership, so if you own something, you most likely have a valid claim to have it. That you are 90% (almost 100% of the way there) legitimate.

He is being told that since the ghost is haunting the house, that is the same os owning the house.

  • This shouldn't have been voted down - it's correct, although it misses that there is also a play on words here. "Possession" can both mean physically having an object (which is the original meaning of the phrase), or it can mean haunting (which, since this is a ghost, is a play on words).
    – PMV
    Jun 1, 2017 at 1:34
  • I would alter Peter's statement to "if you possess something, you most likely have a valid claim to owning it. The idea is that possession is nine tenths of the law in ownership disputes.
    – BobRodes
    Jun 1, 2017 at 3:26
  • @PMV - I wouldn’t call this “correct” – the phrase often talks about having physical possession of an object irrespective of a legal claim to ownership. For example, in a dispute about an office chair, one worker may say to another, “Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” not because he owns the chair, but because he’s been sitting in it for the past six months.
    – J.R.
    Jun 1, 2017 at 10:39

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